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American Engineering 


The twelve-hour shift in 


New York 


[1 922] 








American Enginpering Council. 

Ferterated Afflencan en gineer i ng g o cio tieg. — Q^mmiUm 
on work '- pcriodo i n contimioio indrntn/ r ' 

The twelve-hour shift in industry, by the Committee on 
work-periods in continuous-industry of the Federated 
American engineering societies ; witli a foreword bv War- 
Tcioo" ^^''^^'^"^^ • • ^^^^^^ ^ork, E. P. Button & company 

ix p., 2 1., 3-302 p. incl tables. 21"-. 

1. JJours of labor. i. Title. 

Library of Congress 
Copyright A 696164 







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Columbia Wlnitimitf 

in ttie Citp of ^bo Horb 


School of Business 






With a Foreword by 

President of the United Staiet 



New Yobk 

681 FiTTH Avenue 

* «*>-^ I 111 I I » I - « i|| iippip Ljw I ' t; I ■ ywwiPiyiiliBp ^ i l m mf^ " - m l . . ■ ■— " ii |%j - 

Copyright, 1982, 

1.11 riglUi fMr9§d 


PrineMl in tU VniUd BUOt of 






•5 . • 


H. E. Howe, Chatrrmn ^ « . 

Chemical Engineer; Editor of the "Journal of Industnal and Engi- 
neering Chemistry," Washington, D. C. 


Editor "Management Engineering"; Vice-President, Ronald Press 
Co.; Vice-President of the American Society of Mechamcal Engmeers, 
New York City. 

J. Parke Channing 

Mining Engineer; Vice-President and Consulting Engmeer of the 
Miami Cop^r Company; Former President of the Mmmg and Metal- 
lurgical Society, New York City. 

Morris L. Cooke 

Consulting Engineer, Philadelphia, Pa. 

DwiGHT T. Farnham r t J * • 1 

Consulting Engineer; Vice-President of the Society of Industrial 
Engineers; Member A. S. M. E., etc. Author of "Europe vs. America 
in Industry," New York City. 

Fred J. Miller ^ ^ ^ 

Consulting Industrial Engineer; Past President of the American 
Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York City. 

L. W. Wallace ^ . . 

Industrial Engineeer; Executive Secretary of the Federated American 
l^gineering Societies. 

Tj g Wolf 

Mechanical Engineer; President of R. B. Wolf Company, Vice-Prra- 
ident of the Taylor Society; Author of "The Human Relations in 
Industry," New York City. 





Foreword by Warren G. Harding, President of the 

United States « 



I. Introduction • •; 3 

II. A General Survey »J 7 

III. The Iron and Steel Industry ...;,:. 15 


t By Horace B. Drury, Ph.D. 

IV. The Problem in General 27 

'J V. The Continuous-Industries — Scope and 

Method op the Investigation ... 35 

I VI. The Metal Industries 45 

^ VII. Glass and Cement 70 

"i VI 11. Lime, Brick, Pottery 95 

"N IX. Chemical Industries 114 

^ X. Sugar, Salt, Petroleum, Cottonseed and 

Other Vegetable Oils 133 

N XI. Paper, Flour, Rubber, Miscellaneous Manu- 
factures, Mines 147 

XII. Electricity, Gas, Water, Ice 169 

XIII. Transportation, Communication, Caretakinq, 

Personal Service 182 


CBAW.B ^^ „ '^" 

XIV. Procedure in Changing prom Two-Shifts 

TO Three Shifts 204 

XV. Conclusions 209 

By Bradley Stoughton 
XVI. The Situation of the Industry .... 219 
XVII. Changing to Three Shifts, General Con- 
siderations 234 

XVIII. Labor Costs and Total Costs .... 249 

XIX. The Peak and Valley Loads 266 

XX. Summary of the Evidence 283 





It is a matter of very mucli gratification to me tliat the 
Federated American Engineering Societies, our foremost 
organization of American industrial skill, should have given 
two years of diligent inquiry, under competent experts, to a 
subject which is of very deep interest to me, and important 
to the country. 

I rejoice to note the conclusions of this great body of 
experts are identical with those which I have reached from 
a purely social viewpoint. It has seemed to me for a long 
time that the twelve-hour day and the type of worker it 
produces have outlived their usefulness and their part in 
American life in the interests of good citizenship, of good 
business, and of economic stability. The old order of the 
twelve-hour day must give way to a better and wiser form 
of organization of the productive forces of the nation, so that 
proper family life and citizenship may be enjoyed suitably 
by all of our people. 

This clear and convincing report of the engineers must 
prove exceedingly helpful in showing that this much to be 
desired result can be achieved without either economic or 
financial disturbance to the progress of American industry. 

Wakken G. Harding. 

The White House, WASHiNaTON, 
November 9, 1922, 


Bi<miwx<>^ y* ! ■ J i M> ** 








Part I 





In 1920 members of the engineering profession began an 
organized study of the twelve-hour shift or "long da/' in the 
operation of continuous-process industry. The spirit of the 
investigation reflected the firm faith of the engineers in facts, 
and the method adopted was that of fact finding and fact 
using Such a study is within the purview of engineering 
activities, for engineering includes "the art of organizing and 
directing human activities" in connection with "the forces 
and materials of nature." 

The first engineering meeting devoted to this subject was 
held in October of the year mentioned at the Engineers' Club 
of Philadelphia. The topic considered was the technique of 
changing from the two-shift to the three-shift system in con- 
tinuous-procesr industries.^ The papers and discussions at 
this meeting gave experiences in changing the basis of opera- 
tion in the manufacture of paper, heavy and light chemicals, 
oil and cement, and in mining, in supplying water and in 
severa!" other industries. A common technique was apparent 
throughout all these experiences. The record of this meeting, 

* Se Journal Philadelphia Engineers ' Club. 




however, did not show to what extent these successful though 
isolated cases had influenced the respective industries to 
which they belonged. 

Shortly after this meeting an investigation was conducted 
to determine the progress made in the steel industry in 
changing from the two-shift day. This investigation was 
directed by Morris L. Cooke. The study was made possible 
by a grant from the Cabot Fund, and the field work was 
done by Horace B. Drury. In Mr. Drur/s report, made at 
a joint meeting of engineering societies held in New York in 
December, 1920,^ there were listed about twenty steel plants, 
some large but many of them small, which had changed from 
the two-shift to the three-shift system with more or less suc- 
cess. It was recognized and stated that the problem of work- 
ing a like change in the plants of the U. S. Steel Corporation 
and the large independents, such as Jones & Laughlin and 
the Bethlehem Steel Company, was quite different from that 
encountered in the smaller plants. 

Early in 1921 the Taylor Society requested the Inter- 
national Labor Office at Geneva to inquire into the status of 
two-shift work in countries other than the United States. A 
report was recently issued from the Washington office in 
memorandum form' to the effect that the shorter day is now 
completely established in the fifteen foreign countries answer- 
ing the questionnaire. Early in 1921 also, Mr. Drury com- 
pleted an inquiry into the twelve-hour shift problem as re- 
gards the larger steel manufacturers in the United States, a 
report of which was issued in proof-sheets in 1922 by the 
Cabot Fund Trustees. Finally in the same year, 1921, the 
Cabot Fund made a grant to the Federated American Engin- 

•See BuHetin of the Taylor Society, Vol. VI, No. 1. 
For summary see International Labor Review, Oct. 1922. The 
International Labor Office has published the replies ii full. See Studies 
«jd Reportg, Series D (Wages and Hours) No. 3, Geneva, S^pt 192I! 

May 19; 19^2.^"°'°^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^ *^® ^"'^ ^^' ^°^ 109, No. 20, 


eering Societies to carry on the two studies presented in thip 
volume. The committee on Work Periods in Continuous In- 
dustry was appointed to direct the investigation. 


To Horace B. Drury the committee assigned the task of 

1. The extent of two-shift work in continuous-process 
industries other than the manufacture of iron and steel. 

2. The experience of those manufacturers who had 
changed from two-shift operation to the three-shift or 
some other system. 

To Bradley Stoughton the committee assigned the task of 
studying the technical aspects of changing from a two-shift 
to a three-shift system in the iron and steel industry. 


There is no direct relationship between the question of 
abandoning the twelve-hour shift system and the question of 
adopting the eight-hour shift system. In a sense it is acci- 
dental that most employers in changing from the long day 
have been forced by the mathematics of the situation to adopt 
a system of three shifts of eight hours each. Certainly the 
change itself has involved no judgment as to the relative 
merits of a working day of eight hours as compared with a 
working day of any other length shorter than twelve hours. 

Relatively, only a small part of industrial work, 5 to 10 
per cent, is on processes which require continuous operation 
and the number of workers is relatively few. The desirabil- 
ity of abandoning the two-shift system lies not in the extent 






to which it is used but in the fact that the twelve-hour shift 
day is too long when measured by twentieth century ideas as 
to the proper conduct of industry. Decisions are influenced 
today by humanitarian considerations as well as by the 
economic demand for that length of a day which will in the 
long run give maximum production. This declaration the 
Committee believes is not controversial. 

Further, there is practical unanimity of opinion in indus- 
try as to the desirability of the change provided the economic 
loss is not too great. The weight of evidence indicates that 
the change can usually be made at a small financial sacrifice 
on the part of the workers and of the management. Under 
proper conditions no economic loss need be suffered. In cer- 
tain instances, indeed, both workers and stockholders have 
profited by the change. 

Facts developed by the investigation definitely prove that 
there is no broadly applicable way of striking a balance be- 
tween the losses and gains inherent in the change from the 
two-shift system of operation. If any one fact stands out 
above the others it is that the change cannot advantageously 
be made by fiat. Our judgment is that to effect the change 
suddenly or without adequate, preparation is sure to cause 
lowered production. On the other hand it is our judgment 
that when the change is pre-planned and the cooperation of 
every one is enlisted gains will accrue to every one concerned 
— ^to workers, management, owners and the public. 





The Drury report is a general survey of all industries 
operating continuously twenty-four hours a day, with special 
consideration of industries other than iron and steeL 

There are few continuous-industries which do not have 
twelve-hour plants. Of some forty or fifty continuous-indus- 
tries a number are overwhelmingly on three shifts. The 
majority are partly on two shifts and partly on three shifts 
with three-shift operation in the preponderance. There are 
a half dozen industries in which two-shift operation is so 
nearly universal that it is difficult to find an exception. Out- 
side the steel industry the total number of employees on eight- 
hour shifts is now considerably larger than the total number 
of employees on twelve-hour shifts. Taking into considera- 
tion all continuous-industries, between one-third and one- 
half of all workers on continuous-operation are on shifts 
averaging twelve hours. 

The leading continuous-industries may be classified as 
follows : 

Group /. Heat-Process IndiLstries 

Iron and steel 


Non-ferrous metals 


Glass ^ 


Portland cement 


1 I 



Qrtmp II. Chemical Industries 

• \ 



Heavy chemicals 




Industrial alcohol 

Wood distillation 

Refined com products 



Drugs, etc. 

Electro-chemical industries 


Table salt 


Cottonseed oil 

Other oils 

Cfraup III. Heaoy Equipment Industries 

Breakfast foods 




Group IV. Service Industries 


Water supply 


Street railways 
Telegraph and telephone 
Mails and express 
Policemen, firemen 


The situation in the iron and steel industry is set forth 
in detail in Part III of this study. The outstanding facts 
as to other industries may he briefly summarized as follows: 

Non-ferrous Metals. 

The three-shift system prevails in the non-ferrous metal 
industries. In the West the change took place twenty or 
more years ago. In the East and South it was completed 
during and subsequent to the war. 

Olass and Cement, 

Until recently the twelve-hour shift was the rule for 
workers about glass-furnaces. At one window-glass plant 


out of 1300 employees, one hundred and seventy-five are on 
a twelve-hour basis. About six years ago the Pittsburgh 
Plate Glass Co. went to three shifts and three years ago the 
example was followed by the majority of other plate glass 
producers. Glass bottle blowers have for many years been 
on a day of approximately eight hours. Among other 
workers in the glass industry, the day ranges from approx- 
imately eight hours to ten hours, with a few on twelve hours. 
The cement industry is the second most important indus- 
try predominantly on two shifts. However, the largest com- 
pany and the third largest company, as measured by 1920 
output, together with a considerable number of the smaller 
companies, are on three shifts. 


About 15 per cent, of the men in the plants personally in- 
vestigated were on shift-work. In most parts of the country 
the lime industry is uniformly on two shifts. 


Brick and Tile, etc. 

There are more than 100,000 men in the United States 
employed in this industry, of whom about 11,000 are on shift- 
work — ^for the most part on two shifts. In some Philadelphia 
plants men are on duty thirty-six hours at a stretch. In 
Illinois many plants have changed to the three-shift system. 

Chemical Industries. 

Most of the producers of heavy chemicals are on three^ 
shifts. Acid plant employees in fertilizer works are almost 
universally on twelve-hour shifts. The continuous process- 
workers in explosive, industrial alcohol and fine chemical 
plants are generally on three shifts. The Niagara Falls 
electro-chemical industries are on three shifts. 

' * aTT»ri 



i >ii 





Sugar, 8aU, Petroleum, Cottonseed Oil, etc. 

The Louisiana sugar mills are on twelve-hour shifts. 
One sugar factory in Texas tried three shifts and later 
reverted to two. The American Sugar Refining Co. 
changed to three shifts in 1918. Nearly all the heet sugar 
plants are on twelve-hour shifts ; two hundred and ten out of 
the two hundred and twenty-five employees at one Michigan 
plant heing so employed. 

In the salt plants the twelve-hour day was formerly almost 
universal. In Michigan today most salt plants are on three 


No examples of two-shift work were found in petroleum 
refining. The refineries of the Standard Oil group, as well 
as those of the "Independents," are uniformly on three shifts. 
Cottonseed crushing, during the months in which the plants 
are in operation, presents one of the largest twelve-hour shift 
problems. Nearly all employees are shift-workers in this 

Paper, Flour, Bvhher, etc. 

There are about 114,000 persons in the paper industry, 
a large proportion of whom are on continuous-operation work. 
Most of the plants operate on three shifts. Thirty per cent, 
of the shift-workers in Massachusetts were in 1912 on twelve 
hour shifts and 70 per cent, on eight-hour shifts. In 1921 
one of the large associations of paper manufacturers reported 
20 per cent, of the plants still on two shifts. 

Practically all the large flour mills are on three shifts. 
Most rubber plants have operated under the three-shift system 
since their establishment. The preparation of cereal foods 
is usually on three shifts. Some plants use the three-shift 
operation for women and the two-shift for men. 

Automobile plants usually operate on one or two shifts of 



about eight hours each ; but one very large company fluctuates 
between two and three eight-hour shifts. 

In the textile industry the three-shift plan is used to 
some extent in the North, but in the plants in the South two 
shifts are employed, the length of the shifts varying greatly. 
The hours of work in mines, because of the influence of trade 
unions and the nature of the work, are fixed at about eight 
hours per day, with some exceptions in auxiliary occupa- 
tions, as for engineers, firemen and pumpmen. 

Power, Oas, Water Supply, etc. 

Work periods in power plants have sometimes been ar- 
ranged for overlapping shifts of different lengths to provide 
for variations in the degree of activity. Public-service elec- 
tric plants in practically every case, however, are now on 
eight-hour shifts. The power departments of factories have 
been run on the twelve-hour shift down to the last few years. 
At present there is a tendency to put engineers and firemen 
on three shifts. The proportion of shift-workers in gas works 
is large. In Philadelphia and outlying districts the ten-hour 
shift is used in conjunction with the eight-hour shift. The 
twelve-hour shift in gas manufacture is now rare. Water 
works plants require less labor for continuous-operation than 
any other public utility. Most plants are now on eight-hour 

Ice manufacture has offered a large field for twelve-hour 
work, but a part of the ice industry is now on eight-hour 
shifts. Watchmen are almost everywhere on twelve hours. 
The other service industries are very largely on eight hours. 


1. As to the extent of continuous work in American indus- 
try, there are upwards of forty continuous-industries operat- 






i I 


ing more or less completely upon a shift system. They 
employ between 500,000 and 1,000,000 wage-eamers on shift- 
work. Their families constitute from 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 
persons who are dependent upon earnings from shift-work 

There are 300,000 wage-eamers working on twelve-hour 
shifts. They and their families number more than 1,200,000 


2. While the usual alternative to the system of two twelve- 
hour shifts is that of three eight-hour shifts, other shift 
systems have been resorted to in a limited way, in changing 
from the twelve-hour shift. Among these are: 

«. Operation for a period shorter than twenty-four 
hours in each calendar day, permitting of a cessation of 
work from two to four hours and thus establishing two 
shifts of ten or eleven hours each. 

h. Arranging what is nominally a twelve-hour shift 
80 that the actual work can be completed in ten or eleven 


c. Arranging overlapping shifts, thus securing three 
nine-hour or three ten-hour shifts in twenty-four hours. 

d. Arranging nine- and ten-hour shifts on the five- 
shift plan. 

3. On the part of an overwhelming majority of the plants 
which have changed from two- to three-shift operation no 
technical difficulties have been encountered. There is usually 
no relationship between the duration of the process and the 
length of the shift, whether the latter is twelve hours long, or 
a shorter period. The seeming disadvantage of having three 
men instead of two responsible for a given product, process, 
or equipment is overcome by standardizing procedure and 
establishing control through precision instruments. 

4. The following factors should be considered in changing 
from two- to three-shift operation: 






a. The readiness or unreadiness, of the men to do 
more work per hour under the shorter shift. 

h. The responsibility of management as expressed in 
planning, supervision and control, which must be of a 
higher quality than usually prevails under two-shift op- 

c. The fluctuations in individual earnings and labor 

d. General industrial and economic conditions, as 
helping to determine the time for making the change. 

e. The relationship of work periods for shift-workers 
and day-workers. 

/. The relationship of wage-rates for shift-workers 
and day-workers. 

g. The number of working days in a week. 

h. The rotation of shifts. 
6. It is not possible to give inclusive data as to the effect 
upon the number of shift-workers of the change from two- to 
three-shift operation, because of variations in conditions. In 
many plants the number of shift-workers has increased in 
proportion to the increase in number of shifts. In other 
plants the number of shift-workers has remained sub- 
stantially constant when changing from two- to three-shift 

6. The effect of the eight-hour as compared with the 
twelve-hour shift operation on the quantity and quality of 
production has been satisfactory where good management 
and cooperation of labor have been secured. In practically 
every major continuous-industry there are plants which have 
increased the quantity of production per man as much as 25 
per cent. In a few exceptional cases the increase has been 
much higher. Evidence shows also an improvement in 
quality of production following the reduction in the length 
of shifts. 







The change from two to three shifts has in practically 
every case reduced absenteeism and labor turn-over, and in a 
marked degree. There is little evidence to show that per- 
sonal injuries to workmen have been reduced. 

7. In changing to three-shifts hourly wage-rates have 
been most commonly increased about 20 or 25 per cent. But 
the character of the adjustment has varied greatly in accord- 
ance with existing economic conditions and the special cir- 
cumstances of the plant. 

8. There is a natural divergence of opinion as to the ad- 
vantages and disadvantages of the three-shift operation, but 
the weight of the evidence and the most positive statements 
are in its favor. 

9. The evidence is conclusive that the extra leisure time 
/ of the men under the shorter working day is used to good 
I advantage. It is spent in gardening, truck-farming and in 
/ doing odd jobs which otherwise would have to be paid for or 
I ^^-would not be done at all. Or it is used for recreation, for 
/ family or social life, or for following the individual's per- 
sonal interests. 

10. A few plants have reverted to the two-shift operation 
after a trial of the three-shift system. Their proportion, 
however, to the number continuing operation on three shifts 
is so small as to be negligible. The weight of evidence shows 
that when a plant changes to three-shift operation it is very 
unlikely that it will revert to the former system. 




The Stoughton report deals with the change from the 
twelve-hour shift to the eight-hour shift in the iron and steel 
industry from the technical viewpoint. It deals with the 
practicability of making the change, its effect and the most 
economical method of changing. 

In 1919, the United States Steel Corporation employed 
approximately 70,000 twelve-hour employees. Altogether, 
there are perhaps 150,000 wage-earners in the entire steel 
industry on twelve-hour shifts. 

A wise executive policy takes into full consideration the 
importance of the intellectual, the psychological and the 
physical well-being of labor, realizing that an immediate 
saving secured by over-pressure inevitably becomes a loss in 
the long run. A refusal to cooperate on the part of the 
workers is an economic loss. Furthermore it is obviously of 
no permanent benefit to the men if their hours are shortened 
beyond the point where the industry can survive under com- 
petitive conditions. 

The factors to consider in determining the economic num- 
ber of working hours for a worker are: 

1. His productivity. 

Z. His skill, carefulness, endurance, alertness, intelli- 
gence, judgment, regularity, morale and goodwill. 
3. His attraction to the work — so that the industry may 



fcf» iTW;»> t »«wcy^ 







benefit from the maximum supply of labor of the 
highest type. 
4. His persistence in the work so that once he is trained 
and his qualities known to the management he will 
remain an asset to the industry. 

The twelve-hour day is strongly established in the iron 
and steel industry by long custom and by its unusual adapt- 
ability to production requirements. Recent progress, how- 
ever, has been in the direction of a shorter day as well as in 
the reduction of the proportion of men on duty seven days a 
week. This is shown by the following tabulation which gives 
the percentage of men so employed. 

Percentage op 

Men Working on 12-Hour Basi 


Seven days per week 

Twelve hours 





Blast furnaces 











Bessemer mills 


ODen hearth 


One reason why the twelve-hour day has persisted in the 
steel industry is the irregularities in the operations, and 
therefore in the intensity of labor, which permit rest periods 
and avoid excessive fatigue due to twelve-hour employment. 

Recent improvements in equipment and the adoption of 
electrical appliances have greatly decreased the frequency 
and the duration of interruptions of the different processes 
due to breakdowns, especially in the rolling mills. Moreover, 
mechanical and other labor-saving devices have lessened the 
severity of peak loads due to the processes themselves, both in 
respect to physical endurance and heat exposure. For in- 




1. Oxygen is used to open the tap hole, and a mud gun to 
close it. 

2. The cast house with its severe manual labor has been 
replaced by an arrangement which allows the liquid pig iron 
to run directly into ladles supported on railroad cars. Under 
this arrangement a former crew of twenty-one men is reduced 
to five — sometimes to three men. 

3. Ore and the materials formerly piled, shoveled and 
wheeled by hand are now handled from railroad cars to the 
furnace hopper entirely without manual labor. Six men 
handle two thousand tons when previously it required twenty- 
three to handle eight hundred tons. This enables the fillers 
to work continuously. 

4. At the Ford plant (which is a blast-furnace only), in- 
stead of allowing the fillers to rest occasionally as is usual in 
the twelve-hour plants, with consequent lowering of the stock 
line level in the furnace and of the furnace eflSciency, an 
automatic record is kept of the level of the stock line in the 
furnace, of the temperature of the top gases and of the time 
at which the charging skip makes its trips. Continuous ad- 
herence to the standards set can be insisted upon and the rest 
periods and furnace inefficiency eliminated because of the 
high wages and the eight-hour day. This condition affects 
the men in front of the furnace as well as the fillers. 

These changes in blast-furnace operation have made pos- 
sible : 

a. Reduction in number of workmen. 
h. Increase in overall efficiency. 

c. Elimination of the floating gang. 

d. Reduction of absences, tardiness, labor turnover. 

e. Greater regularity of operation and less loss of time. 
/. Fewer accidents and breakdowns. 

g. Less costly repairs. 

h. Decreased cost of production. 



It is emphatically asserted by blast-furnace managers 
working the eight hours that the higher grade of labor at- 
tracted by the shorter hours, the greater care and alertness, 
better work, and more skilful operation are all reflected in a 
saving in cost of production as enumerated in the last five 
items above. Cost figures are confidential but furnace oper- 
ators working under the eight-hour day assured the investi- 
gator on more than one occasion that the cost of producing 
pig iron is less on the eight-hour than on the twelve-hour day. 

At the Ford plant, although the men are paid seventy-five 
cents and upward per hour and work only eight hours — as 
compared with twenty-seven to thirty cents per hour at vari- 
ous twelve-hour plants visited — ^nevertheless they make pig 
iron cheaper than it can be bought. This is attributed to the 
greater eflSciency of labor and of operation. 

In the case of open-hearth furnaces : 

1. The charging machine has greatly reduced the work 

of the crew on the charging platform. 

2. Electric appliances for raising furnace doors, mechan- 

ical appliances for changing valves, etc., have re- 
duced labor. 

3. Oxygen is used in tapping and compressed air for re- 

pairing the hola A mechanical appliance has 
replaced hand-shoveling of recarbonizer into the 
ladle. Repairs are made with the mud gun. 

Economical open-hearth operation is dependent upon the 
care, expertness and loyalty of the men ; the shirking of duty 
is costly. Carelessness is more likely to occur on a twelve- 
than on an eight-hour shift. 

In the case of rolling mills eight-hour shift operation pro- 
duces a decided increase of efficiency in the case of the lever 
men manifested in: .increased output; less waste from 




"cobbles'' or spoilage; less need of repairs; elimination of 
"spell hands." 



Successfully to change from the twelve- to the eight-hour 
shift certain definite preparations must be made. 

1. The equipment must be in satisfactory condition to 

respond to increased intensity of operation 

2. The cooperation of the workmen must be secured. 

3. Necessary labor must be available. 

4. The technical staff must be prepared to furnish full 

information regarding available labor-saving appli- 
6. Existing "bottle necks" must be eliminated and prob- 
able ones avoided. 

6. Peak loads must be studied with special reference to 

the installation of mechanical appliances. 

7. The change must not be made during a period of labor 

unrest : 
a. After strife. 
h. When bitterness exists. 

c. When mutual confidence is lacking. 

d. When labor is arrogant or elated by the defeat of 

the management. 

8. The change must not be made too suddenly. 

9. Management must be able to exert a strong influence 

against : 
a. Tardiness and absence. 
h. Deliberate shirking. 
c. Misuse of extra hours of free time. 
10. Where possible time studies of the work should be 

made to determine how much more the twelve-hour 






crew could produce per hour if it worked with 
greater efficiency. The same hourly rate for eight 
hours, as for twelve should he paid hut a honus 
should be added which will enable the men by be- 
coming more efficient, to maintain their daily in- 

Labor Costs and Total Costs, 

The United States has the most profitable iron and steel 
industry in the world, making more money and yielding more 
output than all the rest of the world put together and export- 
ing its product in successful competition with foreign coun- 
tries. The majority of managers and executives with whom 
the matter was discussed believe that the good of the industry 
can be better served by eliminating the twelve-hour day than 
by increasing dividends, provided that, by means of labor- 
saving devices and in other ways this step can be taken with- 
out serious injury to the industry. 

The fact that already many plants operate successfully on 
the three-shift system indicates that profits need not suffer 
if the change is made with wisdom. The cost of all blast-fur- 
nace labor according to either system, is less than one dollar 
per ton of pig. Judge Gary testified before the Lockwood 
Committee in June, 1922, that the U. S. Steel Corporation 
could produce at two dollars per ton less than its competitors. 
This shows what low overhead and expert technical skill can 

The operating labor in the case of pig iron is from 5.8 per 
cent, to 8 per cent, of the total manufacturing cost. Only a part 
of the labor in the steel industry is working the twelve-hour 
shift. If that labor was changed to the eight-hour shift and 
paid as much per day as it is now getting for twelve-hour 
work, even without securing any compensating advantages 
through increased efficiency, morale, etc., the total manufac- 


turing cost of the product in the steel industry would be in- 
creased only from 3 to 15 per cent. This is in most cases less 
than the variations in cost already experienced by competing 
plants, due to difference in efficiency of equipment, technical 
skill, purchasing, location, capital resources, overhead ex- 
pense and skill of management. 

As a matter of actual experience it is known that some 
plants have changed from the twelve-hour to the eight-hour 
shift and reduced their labor costs. Others have reduced 
their total manufacturing cost. Others are operating eight- 
hour shifts with satisfaction to management and stockholders. 
Results in such plants may be summarized as follows : 

1. Some plants which have adopted the three-shift system, 

though paying wages a little less than are paid in 
corresponding plants working twelve hour shifts, 
have sufficient labor, both skilled and unskilled. 

2. The management believes that the shorter hours attract 

a better class of labor. 

3. Every executive interviewed stated that there is a 

smaller labor turnover on the three-shift system than 
on the two-shift system. 

4. Sufficient skilled labor can be trained in the plant if 

the change is made with the cooperation of the men, 
and if it is made gradually. 
6. It is unnecessary to pay a full twelve-hour w&ge to 
"* skilled labor to secure a sufficient number to work 

the eight-hour shift. 

Oatns from the Three-shift System. 

The change from the twelve- to the eight-hour shift has 
secured results sufficient to compensate in whole or in part for 
the extra cost : 

1. Increased efficiency manifested in increased produc- 




tion per man per hour and per machine per day, 
due to: 

a. Better physical and mental condition of the men. 

b. Better class of men attracted, 

c. Better conduct of operation. 

d. More uniform operation. 
ft Better quality of product. 
/. Less fuel used. 

g. Less waste. 

h. Less need of repairs to equipment 

«. Longer life of apparatus. 

2. Better morale resulting in: 

a. Less absence and tardiness. 

b. Less shirking. 

e. Better discipline^ due to : 

Better spirit of the men. 

Greater pressure which foremen can and will 

exert because they do not have to hold back out 

of sympathy for tired men. 

3. Elimination of the "floating gang/' maintained in 

twelve-hour shift plants to give twelve-hour men a 
day off a week. 

4. Greater prestige with the public — ^which is invaluable 

in time of strife. 


There are certain outstanding conclusions in regard to 
the change from the twelve- to the eight-hour shift which 
occur in both the Drury and Stoughton reports: 

1. The tendency throughout the world is toward the 
abolition of the twelve-hour shift. 



2. In almost every continuous-industry there are plants 

which are operating on an eight-hour shift basis 
in competition with twelve-hour shift plants. 

3. To make the change from the three-shift operation suc- 

cessfully and economically it is desirable that : 

a. The majority of the workmen appreciate the value 

of the extra leisure. 

b. The workmen be willing to concede something in the 

way of daily income. The plan which divides the 
extra labor cost equally between the men and the 
company has been acceptable in a number of cases. 

c. A survey of the field be made for labor-saving equip- 

ment and methods of management which will 
facilitate the work after the change is made. 

d. The plant management study equipment and methods 

of operation and make every possible change in 
the plant and in the organization to facilitate 
operation under the three-shift system. 

e. All equipment be in condition to respond to in- 

creased intensity of operation. 

/. The workmen be instructed in their duties under the 
new system and the cooperation of the whole or- 
ganization be secured. 

g. The extra trained labor required be available. 

h. The time for the change be selected with great care. 
Periods of labor unrest must be avoided, the suc- 
cess of each step assured before another is taken. 

5. In a number of plants where the change has been made 
with success the management reports these results: 

a. Better physical and mental condition of workmen. 
h, improvement in ilass jf vorkmen. 
c. Less vnirking, ^ardiness, absenteeism and abor-*:um- 

. I I ■■giiliO T 


d. Improved spirit and cooperation of workmen. 

e. More exact adherence to instructions as to working 

/. More uniform methods with consequent attainments 

of standards, etc 
g. Better quality of product. 
h. Increased output per man per hour, 
t. Less material used. 
j. Wastes eliminated. 

le. Longer life of equipment and less need of repairs. 
I, Greater prestige with the public 

Part II 



Formerly of the Economics Department, Ohio State University; Author 

of "Scientific Management**; Lately with the Industrial Relations 

Division of the United States Shipping Board; now member 

of the Staff, Institute of Economics, Washington, D. C. 








The people of the United States realize today more 
clearly than ever before that the main business and obligation 
of industry is to produce goods, and to produce them at as 
low a cost and in as great abundance as possible. But im- 
portant as the production of goods obviously is, the effect of 
industry upon those who labor is hardly less vital. For many 
persons, that portion of their time devoted to labor constitutes 
a most important factor in their lives, either in what it intro- 
duces into their experience or in what it shuts out 

That is, the conditions under which men live during that 
part of the day devoted to work, the character which the task 
stamps upon mind and body, the sort of life outside of the 
shop which men's occupations permit them and their families 
to enjoy, these things have almost as important a share in 
determining the comfort and well-being of society in general 
as does the quantity of goods produced. 

Hours of Labor — Interest in the Svhject. 

This clearer appreciation of what may be called the 
human factor in industry has led in recent years to the chang- 
Sng of industrial practice along many lines: to workmen's 
compensation and accident prevention; to the cleaning up 
and beautification of factories; to the establishment of rela- 
tions between employers and employees so planned as to make 
men feel that they have an important relationship to a great 


I iriSSSSSiitm 



enterprise. However, of all the problems concerning labor, 
perhaps none has received more consideration than the ques- 
tion of hours. An interest in hours was indeed active for 
decades, if not a century, before much thought was given to 
safety or to many of the present policies relating to labor. 
It is patent that hours constitute almost as important a part 
of the industrial contract as does the wage-rate itself. They 
necessarily have some bearing on efficiency, on the pleasure 
of work and on the employee's health. So a century and more 
ago the question of hours was beginning^ to be a matter for 
legislation in England, first as regarded children and then 
as regarded women. And very early the trade unions began 
to take an interest in the subject, as did also some employers. 
The work-day which once had been twelve hours, or more, 
was reduced in the great majority of manufacturing indus- 
tries to ten hours and in certain trades and sections it became 
eight. The expanded interest in working conditions which 
has marked the last decade has centered to a considerable 
degree around the question of hours. 

Prior to the War the customary day for unskilled labor 
in most American industries was ten hours, for skilled me- 
chanics it was often nine, but in some of the more strongly 
unionized trades it was eight. These variations in practice 
caused the question of hours to become a leading one, and in 
the course of the War an appreciable section of American^, 
industry went to an eight-hour day, especially in the West, 
and in cities and shipbuilding centers. 

Immediately after the close of the War, most European 
countries definitely established the principle of an eight-hour 
day. In America, however, the question of hours, especially 
the question of a ten-hour versus an eight-hour day, is still a 
prominent issue. Employers, in many cases where the eight- 
hour day has been introduced, maintain that it would be to 
the interest of all concerned to return to a nine- or ten-hour 




day. Organized labor, on the other hand, adheres staunchly 
to the principle of the shorter day. The attitude of indi- 
vidual employees is often in doubt— or at least in dispute. 

Working Hours in Cordinuous-Industries. 

There is, however, one aspect of the subject of hours 
which has received no adequate consideration ; and that is the 
problem of working hours in the continuous-industries. 

When persons speak of hours of labor they are thinking in 
almost all cases of the ordinary day turn which begins at 
about 7 in the morning and ends at from 3 :30 to 5 :30 in the 
afternoon. In the case of the day-work there is obviously no 
difficulty in adjusting the times of starting and stopping so as 
to give the desired number of hours. What the country, in its 
interest in hours, has not realized is that underlying the 
major portion of the nation's industry, which operates only 
by day, there are some forty or fifty industries where pro- 
duction is carried on throughout the twenty-four hours. In 
these industries, the number of hours worked per day is de- 
termined not by what would in itself constitute the best length 
of work-day, but by what is possible and practicable consider- 
ing the requirement that the total of all the work periods 
must be an even twenty-four hours. 

The division of twenty-four hours into ten- or nine-hour 
periods is a difficult matter. This fact, connected with the 
lack of enthusiasm on the part of managers of continuous- 
operation plants, and indeed of labor in many instances, in 
part accounts for the slowness with which the elimination of 
twelve-hour work has taken place. It is also true that many 
men on continuous work are employed in watching equipment 
rather than in doing great quantities of manual labor so that 
the physical strain and the lessened efficiency of a twelve-hour 
day are not so great as on most types of day-work. This no 
doubt accounted for the almost universal practice of making 










the duty of shift-workers two hours longer rather than two 
hours shorter than the common ten-hour day. 

The twelve-hour day for shift-workers is still to he found 
widely distributed throughout the continuous-operation in- 
dustries. But today it no longer holds the distinction of 
being the only practice. In most of the continuous-industries 
the question of three versus two shifts was not given serious 
consideration until within the last ten years and in most of 
the plants the matter did not come up for practical decision 
until the outbreak of the War. By 1920, there were in prac- 
tically all of the continuous-industries some plants operating 
three shifts. 

The transformation was, however, far from being com- 
plete. At the date of this writing (1922) there are few con- 
tinuous-industries which do not have some twelve-hour plants. 
In many instances the volume of twelve-hour work is large. 
The present situation may be stated as follows : 

1. Of some forty or fifty continuous industries, si 
number are overwhelmingly on three shifts. 

2. The majority are partly on two shifts and partly 
on three, usudly with three-shift operation in the pre- 

3. In some half a dozen industries two-shift operation 
18 still so nearly universal that it is exceedingly difficult 
to find an exception. 

4. Outside of the steel industry, the total number of 
employees on eight-hour shifts is now considerably larger 
than the total number of employees on twelve-hour shifts. 

6. Taking into consideration all the continuous-indus- 
tries, including steel, it is probable that from one-third 
to one-half of all the shift-workers employed at the close 
of the last period of normal business activity were on 
shifts averaging twelve hours. 




The Twelve-hour Shift--Lach of Inforrmtion. 

There is an unbelievable lack of knowledge pertaining to 
the twelve-hour shift. There are no statistics covering the 
matter of shift-work, nor has the government or any other 
agency collected figures which show the number of twelve- 
hour workers. The federal government, indeed, through the 
Census of Manufactures, and some of the states, as Ohio, 
Massachusetts, and New York, collect masses of figures on 
hours. But the state figures are usually union regulations, 
which generally do not apply to continuous-operation em- 
ployees ; while the voluminous statistics on hours collected for 
the federal census, and by the state authorities^ in Ohio, are 
no more than a report on jthe^grevoi^ hours in the several 
establishments. In most^'contmuously 'operated p the 

E^iirs oTshUPworkers are not the prevailing hours, more than 
fifty per cent, of the employees being on day-work, with hours 
different from those of the shift-workers. It is, accordingly, 
the length of the day worked by day-workers, which is in most 
cases reported for the entire plant. And the twelve-hour or 
eight-hour shift employees, amounting perhaps to twenty-five 
or forty per cent, of the total, are thus treated as though 
they did not exist, or rather as though they worked 
the same hours as the day-workers. On the other hand 
the reports from those plants where more than fifty per 
cent, of the employees work twelve hours show both day 
and shift-workers as working twelve hours. This, of course, 
is an exaggeration. Under certain circumstances a study of 
these reports is of help, as they point out where a twelve- 
hour day is to be found, but they do not present an accurate j 
or even an approximately correct picture of the extent, or the ! 
distribution, of twelve-hour work.^ / 

-- . «-fn tfce-reportB of the last Gengua.Qf^ Manufactures (1919)^tW 

columns for hours *'over 72,'' *'72'' and ** between 60 and 72,'' which 
had been shown separately in the Census of 1914 and m earlier years, 
were merged. Thus the only information now available is for hours 
'*over 60." 

■ ,t liMiii'Mi • i- iiiiiri 










Some information — ^but wholly inadequate — may be ob- 
tained from the more intensive studies of hours which have 
been made for a few specific industries. In 1912 the authori- 
ties of Massachusetts made a detailed study of the hours 
worked by both day-workers and shift-workers in the paper 
mills. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1919 
analyzed hours in a considerable number of industries. But 
these industries, like those for which the Bureau has at other 
times made studies, were in the main not continuous- 
industries. The figures were also for selected plants rather 
than for all plants. And the statistics gathered are for hours 
actually worked during a pay-roll period, rather than for the 
normal working day. They, therefore, give a day shorter 
than the actual day for every employee who was absent or 
out of employment for a part of the period. From the num- 
ber of employees whose hours are put down as six, ^ye, four, 
and even "under four" hours a day, it is apparent that this 
last method of counting hours, though of value when it comes 
to throwing light on employment and earnings, has detracted 
considerably from the availability of the statistics as an indi- 
cation of the length of the working day.^ 

The best study of hours in a continuous-industry was 
made some ten years ago by what was then the Bureau of 
Labor, in the Department of Commerce and Labor. It was 
an extensive study of the twelve-hour day in the steel indus- 

^ try. At various times in the last decade or so there have been 

; private inquiries affecting this one industry. The public has 

\ been informed to some extent with reference to the hours of 

\ shift-workers in the steel industry, and to a lesser degree, the 

' — ^ paper industry. But aside from these two industries the pub- 



* Also, the inclusion in the statistics of overtime has, in at least one 
instance, given the appearance of long hours, where they do not normallj 
exist. Nevertheless, in thie limited field which they cover, the figures of 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics are much more serviceable, for our pur- 
pose, than those collected by the census. 



lie has had practically no information. As an evidence of 
the lack of general information almost all discussion relating 
to the twelve-hour shift has centered around the steel indus- 
try, as though the practice of twelve-hour shifts existed only 
there. The facts show that there are several times as much 
shift-work outside of the steel industry as there is in it, and 
approximately as many men working twelve hours. The 
other industries have had many times as much experience 
in changing from two to three shifts. In these industries, 
moreover, the elimination of what remains of the twelve-hour 
shift presents a more complicated problem. 

Not only has there been little information available re- 
garding the twelve-hour day in the continuous-industries, but 
only very fragmentary attention has been given by those most 
concerned. It was only with much difficulty that even the 
names of the continuous-industries could be ascertained. It 
has been rare to find any one person, whether government 
official, leader of industry, labor leader, or general student of 
industrial problems who could give the names of more than a 
few such industries. In the great majority of cases it was not 
believed by members of these groups that there was in exist- ^ 
ence such a thing as a twelve-hour day, save for the reports / 
which had been heard concerning it in the steel industry. ^ 
Even in the case of the trade associations in the continuous- I 
industries, and of individuals who have had wide and lifelong \ 
knowledge of these industries, as a rule no one is informed 1 
correctly regarding shift practice. Hardly a person can j 
speak with assurance or accuracy regarding the practice in y 
the various sections of the country in the matter of two-shift 
or three-shift operation. 

Strangest of all, the managers of continuous plants are 
not themselves informed regarding shift operation in other 
plants in the same industry. In most cases managers know 
what rates of wages are paid by their competitors, and 














whether their men are organized, but are uncertain as to what 
shifts are run. In case they are posted they usually have no 
clear idea as to how shift systems have worked out. With few 
exceptions they are in almost absolute ignorance of what the 
practice is in other sections of the country. There is, of 
course, an approach to knowledge on all these subjects. 
There are rumors and surmises with regard to what may be 
done here or there, and occasionally definite knowledge. But 
the difference between what is believed and what is actually 
the fact is often exceedingly great. 


The object of this investigation has been to ascertain : 

1. What is the extent of continuous work in American 

industry ? 

2. What are the alternatives to the twelve-hour shift ? 

3. Are there technical difficulties in changing from two- 

shift operation? 

4. What are the factors to be considered in changing from 

two-shift to three-shift operation ? 
6. How does the change from two-shift to three-shift 
operation affect the number of shift-workers ? 

6. What is the effect of eight-hour as compared with 

twelve-hour shift operation on the quantity and 
quality of production, absenteeism, labor turnover 
and industrial accidents ? 

7. How do wage-rates on eight-hour shift operation com- 

pare with wage-rates on twelve-hour shift operation ? 

8. What is the general opinion of managers of three-shift 

plants regarding three-shift as compared with two- 
shift operation ? 

9. Do employees make good use of the increased hours 

of leisure ? 
10. To what extent have plants reverted to two-shift opera- 
tion ? 




EoE the purposes of this investigation the continuous- 
industries may be roughly arranged in four groups, in 
accordance with what are conceived to be the reasons for their 
being continuous. These groups may be designated as : 

Oroup I. Heat-process industries. « 

Chroup II, Chemical industries. \ 

Group III, Heavy equipment industries. 

Group IV, Service industries. 

They are exhibited in the following table: 

The Leading Continuous-Industribs 

Group I. Heat^Proceas Industries 

Iron and steel 


Coke used in making steel 

Flint glass 

Non-ferrous metalR 



Window glass 


Plate glass 


Portland cement 





Pottery » 

* Usually only two or three per cent, of employees are shift-workers, 














TABLE 1.— Continued 

Group II. 

Heavy chemicals 




Industrial alconol 

Wood distillation 

Refined com products 

Soap * 


DrugSi perfumes, fine chemicals 

Chemical Industries 

Electro-chemical industries 

Louisiana cane sugar 
Refining of imported sugar 
Beet sugar 

Table salt 


Cottonseed oil 

Linseed and other oils 

Group III. Heavy Equipment Industries 

Paper Bakeries » 

Flour Automobiles * 

Rubber Textiles » 

Breakfast foods Mines 

Group IV. Service Industries 

Electricity, power of all kinds Street railways 

Qas Telegraph and telephone 

Water supply Mails and express 

jce Policemen, firemen 

Shipping Watchmen 


* Only a few soap plants operate continuously. 

• Operated as continuous-industry only in certain localities. 

* The Ford plant is operated continuously, some other plants most or 
the twenty-four hours. 

• Not usually continuously. 

Heat-process Industries, 

The first of the four groups, and the most important in 
the extent of continuous work, is made up of heat-process 
industries. The obvious reason for their operating contin- 
uously is the loss, often the prohibitive loss, which would 
come from allowing materials and furnaces to cool down and 
then start up again every day in the week. Indeed, some of 
the processes, as those in blast-furnaces and continuous glass 



tanks, require several months to get into the best working 
shape, and entirely different methods would have to be fol- 
lowed if the furnace work were to be confined to eight or ten 
hours a day. In a sense, of course, these industries are 
usually chemical industries as welL 

The heat-process industries as a whole fall into two major 

subdivisions : 

1. The metallurgical; 

2. Industries which bum or melt stone, sand, or clay to 

make glass, cement, lime, brick, tile, pottery, etc., 
which will be referred to as the ceramic group. 

Among the metallurgical industries, the steel industry is 
preeminent, as, indeed, it is first among all the continuous- 
operation industries. This industry is continuous in char- 
acter in almost all of its fundamental branches. Because of 
its size and the large proportion of continuous work, and also 
because it has been one of the slower of the continuous-indus- 
tries to move towards the abandonment of the twelve-hour 
shift, it is almost as important a factor in the field of this 
study as all the other continuous-industries put together. 
The metal industries, other than steel, are at the present time 
almost without exception on a three-shift basis. 

In the ceramic group, there are a number of industries in 
which the main work, so far as labor is concerned, is not con- 
tinuous, but consists in the daytime shaping and movement 
of bricks, tile, terra cotta, etc. But the technically important 
process of burning the finished ware is continuous, as is also 
the operation of the power plants. In a typical twelve-hour 
brick plant (burning coal), about 11 per cent, of the men 
are shift-workers. In terra cotta and pottery, the per cent, 
would be much smaller (perhaps 3 per cent.). Lime, on the 
other hand, calls for a considerably larger proportion of shift- 
workers (perhaps 15 per cent.). Cement is continuous- 















operation, not only in burning, but, as a rule, in the major 
grinding operations which, together with the burning, make 
up the substance of the industry. The proportion of shift- 
workers in the various branches of the glass industry varies 


Excepting glass, all the industries in the ceramic group 
are predominantly operated on two shifts. Glass is mainly 
a three-shift industry (so far as there is shift-work at all). 

Chemical Industries. 

The chemical industries are considerably more numerous 
fend diversified than the heat-process industries, but usually 
not large individually. Nearly all of the chemical industries 
have some continuous-process work ; but usually only a part of 
the process is continuous, and usually the number of men em- 
ployed in the continuous-operation departments is relatively 
not large. A few men can handle a great tonnage of acids or 
fats. Even where the continuous-operation equipment bulks 
large, a substantial majority of the employees may be on other 
than shift-work. The more important industries in Group 
II, in point of number of shift employees, are on the border 
line between the chemical and heat-process industries, or be- 
tween the chemical industries and those whose chief distinc- 
tion is their heavy equipment. Particular cases are the refin- 
ing of petroleum, the crushing of cottonseed, and the sugar 
industry. Petroleum refining is on three shifts. Cottonseed 
oil manufacture, fertilizers, and the bulk of the sugar indus- 
try, are on two shifts. Most of the other chemical industries 
are partly on three shifts, partly on two shifts, with the pre- 
ponderance in favor of three shifts. 

Heavy-Equiprn^ent Industries, 

The term ''heavy equipment" — or "elaborate equipment" 
suggests a third great cause for continuous-operation. It is 



one of the most significant causes, for in a way it underlies 
much of the continuous-operation in all of the groups named. 
A common designation for the unit of operation in a "heavy- 
equipment" industry is "mill." "MiUs" are often at the 
heart of continuous-operation in industries of the most diverse 
type. They may be heavy mills, such as are used in the steel 
industry or in cane or cottonseed crushing, or small mills such 
as are to be found in the flour industry. But the equipment of 
a plant need not include a mill in the narrow sense of that 
term — ^revolving apparatus — in order to cause continuous- 
operation. Wherever there is heavy overhead and the pos- 
sibility of increasing output greatly by employing a relatively 
small number of men to keep the equipment going contin- 
uously, there is a strong tendency towards continuous-opera- 
tion. Indeed, continuous-operation may develop even where 
the number of employees is large, especially in rapidly ex- 
panding industries, or in times of great demand. Associated 
with the desire to save on overhead expense and turn out large 
output without multiplying equipment there are also substan- 
tial technical conveniences favoring the uninterrupted opera- 
tion of certain types of mills or other heavy equipment. For 
example, in the paper industry it is a costly and hazardous 
matter (from the equipment standpoint) to stop and start 

the mills. 

While this matter of heavy equipment is an important 
factor in many of the continuous-industries, it stands almost 
alone as a factor making for continuous-operation in the case 
of the industries listed in the table as Group III. Several of 
these industries are not as a whole on continuous-operation, 
but they are listed as being the seat of continuous-operation 
in certain plants at certain times. It must be remembered 
that the influence for continuous-operation of heavy equip- 
ment extends far outside of the industries listed as Group III. 













' \) 



Service Industries. 

The fourth group is, technically considered, of a miscel- 
laneous character. It consists, with a few exceptions, of pub- 
lic-service industries. A principal, though not always the 
only, reason for the continuous-operation of these industries 
is the fact that the services which they render are needed both 
by day and by night. But the service by night is not neces- 
sarily equal to the service by day, and the industries present 
many irregularities. 

The lines of division between the four groups presented 
are far from rigid, the groups overlapping to some extent. 
Yet the arrangement of the industries in this fashion should 
be of assistance in bringing out the four forces in modern 
industry which make for continuous-operation. 


It would be hard to overstate the technical importance of 
the continuous-industries. Our contact with their products 
is as intimate as our knowledge of the breakfast table— as 
witness sugar and salt, the breakfast food, bread, the diver on 
the table, the china, the glass, the ice in the water, and even 
the Tvater itself. It was a continuous-industry which supplied 
the gas for cooking, the electricity for lighting, also the 
plaster for the walls, paper to cover them, perhaps the very 
colors in the paper. We can little more than suggest the 
innumerable objects of metal or the ceramic arts which serve 
a useful or decorative purpose in almost every interior. 

Note the place which the products of the continuous-in- 
dustries occupy in the more general framework of a city. 
Consider steel, concrete, brick, glass, terra cotta, cement, 
paving bricky steel rails. Consider such services as those of 
police and fire protection; watchmam service; electricity; 
communication; and transportation. Consider the ramifica- 



tions of the chemical industries, and the innumerable uses of 
the metals, clay products, paper, power. 

It would seem that with the rapid expansion of the chem- 
ical industries, with the constant introduction of more heavy 
and expensive machinery, and with the greater attention paid 
to securing maximum output from equipment, the importance 
of the continuous-industries will in tiie future be greater than 
at present. 


The problem of labor-shifts in the continuous-industries 
IS of somewhat less magnitude than the technical importance 
of the industries would suggest. Taking the country's indus- 
tries as a whole, the continuous-operation stage usually comes 
at a point where products are handled in bulk. The indus- 
tries which require large numbers of workmen are those 
which finish or fabricate, and as a rule these industries are on 
a day-work basis. In the continuous-industries it is very 
rarely that all the employees are on shift-work. In general, 
the process men are on shift-work. But the mechanics who 
construct and repair equipment, the common labor that loads 
and unloads cars and handles materials, the men and women 
who pack and ship goods, as well as those in finishing depart- 
ments of various kinds, are on day-work only. So that in 
industries that seem thoroughly "continuous-process," the 
proportion of shift-workers frequently falls a little short of 
50 per cent. Often it is in the neighborhood of 30 or 40 per 
cent. There are some partly-continuous-industries in which 
the proportion of shift-workers hardly runs over 10 per cent., 
if it is indeed that large. On the other hand, there are sub- 
stantial industries, such as cottonseed crushing and beet-sugar 
refining, in which the proportion of shift-workers is very close 
to 100 per cent. Also some of the largest of the steel com- 
panies have had as high as two-thirds of all their employees 




on shift-work, while a ratio of 50 per cent, of shift employees 
is not at all uncommon. 

Nevertheless, even counting only the employees actually 
on continuous work it is evident that the problem of two- 
shift versus three-shift operation is important. So far as 
can be judged from all available evidence there are between 
500,000 and 1,000,000 American wage-earners on shift-work. 
Of these, probably 300,000 or not far from that number, 
were, at the close of the last period of normal industrial ac- 
tivity, still working twelve hours.* 


The investigation of shifts in continuous-industry has 
been rendered more difficult by the fact that the continuous 
workers are scattered, not only in many different industries, 
but often in relatively small groups in plants where they are 
outnumbered by day-workers. Their diffusion among day- 
workers accounts for the lack of statistics covering their num- 
ber. Doubtless, also, the absence in most cases of mass effect 
is one of the reasons why so little study has been given the 
)roblem of the twelve-hour worker. 

"Riese^eculiarities, as well as the widespread lack of in- 
formation, have prescribed rather definitely the course which 
had to be followed in the making of this investigation. To 
form anything like a correct or comprehensive view of the 
subject it has been necessary to go into the field and hunt the 
continuous plants, in as wide an expanse of the country as 

* As already pointed out (see page 31), there are no statistics cover- 
ing this subject. In arriving at the above estimates, consideration was 
given to the number of men reported in the census as employed in each 
industry, and to evidence collected in the field with regard to the propor- 
tion of twelve-hour workers. Use was also made of such other statistical 
data as was available. But the estimates are necessarily very rough. 
This applies to the figures for all shift-worker^ as well as to those for 
twelve-hour workers. 




Extent of Country Covered. 

Each continuous-industry has its several strongholds in 
particular sections of the country, and those were especially 
visited. But many plants, large and small, were also visited 
in other parts of the country. Table 2 shows the localities 
in which plants were studied or their managers consulted in 
person. Information was received by correspondence from 
many other points. 

Places VisrrajD foe Investigation 

New York City 


Metuchen, N. J. 

Camden, N. J. 

Glass manufacturing points in 

southern New Jersey 
Bethlehem, Allentown, Nazareth, 

Palmerton, and other points in 

Lehigh Valley, Penn. 
Philadelphia, and nearby Penn. 

Pittsburgh, and numerous cities 

within radius of 40 miles 
Sharon, Pa. 
Washington, D. C. 
Chattanooga, and Richard City, 

Copper Hill, and Knoxville, Tenn. 
Newell, and New Cumberland, W. 

Newport, Ky. 

Canton, Ohio 

East Liverpool, Ohio 


Cincinnati, and suburbs 

Middletown, Ohio 

Franklin, Ohio 

Miamisburg, and W. Carrollton, 

Michigan cities along St. Clair 

Battle Creek 
Terre Haute 

DanviUe, HI. 
Granite City, HI. 
St. Louis 

Kansas City, Kansas 

The survey thus conducted could not in the nature of the 
case be complete. But the study was carried to a point where 


it was believed that it would give a substantially correct view 
regarding the size and nature of the shift problem in the 
United States. 

Statements hy Officers of Plants, 

While many sources of information have been used, the 
report is based in the main on the statements of officers of the 
continuous-industry plants. 




The steel industry has received separate consideration in 
three special reports which may be considered as parts of the 
present investigation.^ In order, however, that this, by far 
the most important of the continuous-industries, may not be- 
omitted from the general survey here given, there will be 
inserted a sketch of the situation in it as respects hours. 
Opportunity will be taken to sum up briefly the conclusions 
regarding the working of the three-shift system, which were 
reached in the earlier investigations of the subject ; and to 
add a few statements which will bring down to date the im- 
portant phases of the evidence there presented. 

The Old Basis — a Two-shift Day, 

For almost a generation, a few minor branches of iron 
and steel making have been operated on three shifts, or an 
approximate equivalent. This has been true of the making of 
wrought iron and of what are known as "hot mills" in sheet 

»See *'The three-shift system in the steel inaustry/' a paper read 
by the writer before a joint meeting of the Taylor Society, the Metro- 
poUtan and Management Sections of the American Society of Mechanical 
Engineers, and the New York Section of the American Institute of 
El^trical Engineers, in New York, December 3, 1920, and published in 
the February, 1921, issue of the Bulletin of the Taylor Society. A more 
analytical study by the same writer entitled ' * The Technique of Changmg 
from the Two-shift to the Three-shift System in the Steel Industry;' was 
prepared for the Cabot Fund, and a small edition privately distributed 
in May, 1922. This has not yet been released for general publication. 
See also Mr. Bradley Stoughton's report on steel in Part III of thia 



i iii i .ii>.aijiii i i i a' 


mills. Here and there a few specially difficult jobs have been 
on eight hours ; and once in a great while, an entire depart- 
ment. But these places where custom has long established an 
eight-hour shift occupy a small place in the steel industry 
as a whole. Prior to the War, the major branches of the steel 
industry were, practically without exception, operated on a 
two-shift basis. About one-half, or a little less than one-half, 
of the employees in the continuous-plants were on day-work, 
which was usually ten hours. The other half (or more) of 
the employees worked twelve hours, or an alternation of 
eleven hours one week and thirteen the next (or ten hours 
one week and fourteen the next). In 1919, the United States 
Steel Corporation gave the number of its twelve-hour em- 
ployees as between 69,000 and Y0,000 and the number in the 
entire industry probably ran as high as 150,000. 

Formerly, steel plants were also on a seven-day week. 
But beginning about a dozen years ago, efforts have been 
made to reduce the volume of seven-day work. Seven-day 
work is almost entirely extinct in rolling mills and to a large 
degree is absent in open-hearth and Bessemer work (though 
when business is normal a considerable proportion of the 
"Independents" still operate their open-hearth furnaces a 
full seven days). By-product coke ovens and blast-furnaces 
must, however, run seven days a week. In these branches of 
the industry the Steel Corporation and some of the "inde- 
pendents" have adopted arrangements by which the individ- 
ual men are relieved one day in the week. Others among the 
"independents" still employ the men in these departments a 
full seven days a week. 

At one time it was thought that the steel industry could 
not be operated on any other basis than two shifts. Later, 
any tendency towards shortening hours was counteracted by 
the introduction of labor-saving machinery ; which has gone 
80 far in the steel industry as practically to remove the strain 



from the majority of jobs. Furthermore, such work as is left 
is generally intermittent, so that, in most cases, the twelve- 
hour steel worker does not actually work more than six or 
seven hours. Combined with these conditions, which seem 
to make a twelve-hour shift feasible from the physical stand- 
point, there were many, especially among the foreign-bom 
steel workers, who were willing and eager to work for as long 
as twelve hours, provided that by so doing they could earn 
slightly more money. Finally, the tendency towards ten or 
eleven hours for the day shift, and thirteen or fourteen for 
the night shift, represented a crude approach to a ten-hour 
day, for on the long night shifts there was usually a certain 
amount of sleeping. All of these considerations together 
somewhat mitigate— but they are not a satisfactory solution 
of— the fact that an average daily employment of twelve 
hours, added to the hour or so lost in coming and going, 
keeps a man away from his family or his other outside 
interests too large a portion of his waking hours. 

Tendencies Toward Shorter SUfts. 

During the War, there was some tendency towards three 
shifts in the steel industry, in harmony with the larger move- 
ment in this direction which was taking place outside. But 
the movement did not reach very large proportions, partly 
because there was in the industry an acute shortage of labor, 
and in steel towns a shortage of houses, which made the large 
companies hesitate to attempt to put on an extra shift By the 
end of 1920, about twenty of the "independent" steel plants 
—some large, but more of them small— had changed to three 
shifts— a number impressive enough to deserve some atten- 
tion, but not large enough to affect very greatly the proportion 
of twelve-hour work in the industry. Thus as late as the be- 
ginning of the present period of depression, the steel industry 


was apparently almost as fully on a two-shift basis as it had 
ever been. 

There is, however, reason lor believing that a changed 
attitude had been developing, influenced by: 

1. The general pressure throughout the country towards 

shorter hours. 

2. The steel strike of 1919. 

8. The attacks on the twelve-hour day in Congress. 

4. The Interchurch Report on the steel industry. 

6. The conviction on the part of many steel men that the 

twelve-hour day is too long a period for men to 


Position of U. S. Steel CorpomtiorL 

The Steel Corporation had appointed a committee em- 
powered to consider and report on the practicability of abol- 
ishing the twelve-hour day. As the pressure for production 
and the shortage of labor in the steel industry subsided in the 
fall and winter of 1920-1921, the work of this committee 
became more active. A number of statements were issued 
regarding the progress of the committee's work ; and finally, 
in the spring of 1921, Judge Gary issued for the Corporation 
a statement to the effect that the Corporation hoped to be able 
to eliminate the twelve-hour day, as the difficulties of doing 
so were overcome. 

There is reason for believing that the officers of the Steel 
Corporation regarded the statement cited as a definite 
declaration of policy on the part of the Corporation, that they 
intended to be understood as announcing a program of abol- 
ishing the twelve-hour day in Corporation plants within the 
course of a year or so. But the statement was embodied in 
explanations as to the difficulties in the way of abandoning 
twelve hours. It came at a time when throughout the coun- 



try there was a tendency towards lengthening rather than 
shortening hours. The Steel Corporation's proposed course 
met the moral opposition of some of the "independent" steel 
manufacturers. The investigator found during his studies in 
1921 that there was a prevalent impression abroad both 
among the "independent" producers and the outside public, 
that the matter of abolishing the twelve-hour day in the plants 
of the Steel Corporation had been allowed to drop. 

Without calling into question the sincerity of the Corpora- 
tion's intention of eventually eliminating twelve-hour work, 
there can be no question but that, by the time the Corporation 
had issued its statement, conditions were rapidly becoming 
less favorable for changing to three shifts. A moderate slack- 
ening in business activity would have been favorable to intro- 
ducing a third shift ; but the depression which came on the 
steel industry was so severe that, while it interposed no me- 
chanical obstacle to going to three shifts, it yet had the effect 
of turning people's thoughts in quite other directions. ^ There 
were times in the summer of 1921 when steel production fell 
to as low as, or lower than 30 per cent, of normal. The aver- 
age hourly earnings of twelve-hour men, taking into account 
the abolition of overtime, were reduced about one-half. Costs 
were high, compared with selling prices ; unemployment was 

very large. 

Under these conditions the question of reorganizing the 
system of shifts in the steel industry was perhaps not un- 
naturally put in the background, while thought was turned 
on problems which were for the moment more grave. More- 
over, men hesitated to put into effect a reduction of hours by 
one-third, when wages had just gone down by one-half; or to 
talk of making changes which might increase cost, when cost 
was already above selling price. What enthusiasm could be 
aroused for getting out more output, when, in some of the 
plants, at least, the greater the output the greater the losses, 

lk*0,-" m *: ^m * *' ^w. ig*i^^-gr»wiwi!' *« ii#-^-*t^ *#t. ' f ^ '^ ' J 


or for reducing the labor force when it meant discharging key 
men, whom it was desired to keep on the pay roll? Why 
shorten hours when men were fortunate if they had employ- 
ment one week out of two ? It is not surprising, considering 
the many harassing circumstances, that for some months 
practically no thought was given to making any far-reaching 
changes in the shift system.* 

Condiiions in 1921. 

There was no reason, however, why shifts could not in 
many cases be shortened during 1921, even if the develop- 
ment of a permanent three-shift system had to come later. In 
fact, the very depression and accompanying unemployment 
were the strongest of reasons why work should, wherever 
practicable, be divided among as large a number of men as 
possible through shortening the hours worked by individual 
workers. And this course, was, in fact, followed to a large 
extent. The movement, however, had its drawbacks and 
limitations. In some cases, the older and more valuable em- 
ployees, whose incomes had already been radically affected 
by cuts in the hourly rates and perhaps by temporary transfer 
to positions below their regular grade, were unwilling to have 
hours reduced, in order to give work to men who belonged to 
the less stable element of workers. There is some risk in a 
company's going too far in giving all employees a small 
amount of work, as competitors may coax away the pick of 
the employees by offering full-time employment. This gen- 
eral situation was the cause of some oscillation between 
twelve-hour and eight-hour shifts. 

* Late in 1920 and early in 1921, both external conditions and senti- 
ment in the Steel Corporation and among many of the "Independents'* 
were favorable for changjing from a two-shift to a three-shift basis. 
Some of the "Independents/* believing that the Corporation was about 
to make such a change, had their new manning scales ready. But before 
the Corporation could officially make up its mind, conditions had changed 
BO that the situation became unfavorable in the respects just enumerated. 



Notwithstanding the circumstances just discussed, the 
proportion of twelve-hour work in the steel industry was ma- 
terially reduced during 1921. Most of the reduction in hours 
was by way of putting what had been on two twelve-hour 
shifts on two ten-hour shifts, or by having as much of the 
work as possible done by day-workers. Thus the Steel Cor- 
poration ran rolling mills on ten-hour shifts. All sorts of 
arrangements, as twelve-, ten-, nine-, eight-, and even six-hour 
periods, were introduced. Men were also worked a week and 
laid off a week. The net result was a substantial reduction in 
the amount of twelve-hour work. At times the proportion of 
twelve-hour workers in plants would be only 10 or 15 per 
cent., whereas formerly the common proportion was 50 or 
more per cent. The tendency was to retain on twelve-hour 
shifts only such work as absolutely had to be continuous 
through the twenty-four hours. 

While some of these innovations of 1921 could be main- 
tained as a part of permanent shift policy, yet it is evident 
that much of the development was essentially temporary. 
When the steel industry fully recovers, it is doubtful if large 
plants will want to run their rolling mills only twenty hours 
out of the twenty-four. !N'or did the steel mills in 1921 do 
much to lessen the proportion of twelve-hour work on blast-fur- 
naces, open-hearth furnaces, or other continuous-process work. 
In the absence of some firmer policy than was followed in 
1921, there would likely be a drifting back towards the 
twelve-hour day in the steel industry as times improve. 

Present SittLcdion and Outlook. 

At the date of writing, September, 1922, the indications 
are that the steel industry plans to go forward rather than 
back. Addressing the annual stockholders' meeting of the 
Steel Corporation on April 17, 1922, Judge Gary announced: 
"Between October, 1920, and March, 1922, we reduced the 


twelve-hour men from thirty-two per cent, of the worfanen 
to fourteen per cent." ' On May 18, 1922, President Hard- 
ine entertained forty or fifty of the country's leadmg steel 
men at a White House dinner, and on this occasion suggested 
to them the importance of the steel industry's giving attention 
to the problem of eliminating twelv^hour work before busi- 
ness should have returned to its full volume. Following this 
dinner, Judge Gary, as President of the American Iron and 
Steel Institute, appointed a committee to investigate the prac- 
ticability of the steel industry as a whole abolishing the 
twelvehour day. This important change, though under 
serious consideration, is, however, yet to be made. 

Hence the whole question as to the relative advantages of 
the two-shift and three-shift systems in the steel industry— 
the question of relative efficiency, relative cost, and relative 
satisfaction-is of as vital importance now as it has ever 

been in the past. -n t 

In view of what has been published elsewhere we will not 
undertake for the steel industry a detailed presentation of 
evidence regarding the results which have been realized m 
such plants as have gone to three shifts. It is opportune to 
recall, however, that when the three-shift steel plants were 
studied in 1920, most of the plants reported that it cost some- 
what more to operate on three shifts. However, m almost a 1 
cases, the managements stated that, considering the intangible 
as well as the tangible factors, they were l'«"er satisfied with 
three-shift than with two-shift operation. While one of the 
larger of the three-shift plants mentioned in the 1920 report 
went back to two shifts at the beginning of 1921 (as was 
noted in the paper as published), stating that the arrange- 

. Presun^ably these statistic., ^^^^J^Ci^^ men'lmonl all 

previous occasions, are for the P"^;?^^? °\Jo^ i„ coal mines, on rail- 
?he employee, of the C^rpoxat.„n -nc^u^^^^^^^^^^^ .^ ^^^ ^^j p,^^, 

'°^^r%'om^eZ&i^^r than the figure, show. 
* The Inland Steel Co. 



ment had not worked well, such of the other three-shift plants 
as the writer has been in touch with have remained on three 

In fact, the evidence, after a year of depression, is now 
rather more favorable to three-shift operation than it was 
in 1920. This would seem to be the case partly because, 
down to the close of 1920, conditions were not favorable for 
getting the greater efficiency which might be expected on 
shorter hours, and partly because with two years' additional 
experience managements now have both more skill, and more 
confidence in the change. 

Thus not far removed from the company which in 1921 
returned to two shifts, another plant, engaged in all the stages 
of steel manufacturing from blast-furnace to rolling mills, 
had reported in 1920 that its labor costs were almost, but not 
quite, as low on three-shift as on two-shift operation. The 
approximation to costs as low as they had been on two shifts 
was, however, only for a brief period, too brief, in fact, to 
make it the basis of a definite statement of findings. Just 
when there was reason to hope that by satisfactory costs main- 
tained during a six months' period, it could be shown that the 
three-shift system had justified itself financially, the severe 
depression began, and for some time there was not business 
enough to do much three-shift operation, nor were costs com- 
parable with what they had ever been before. But this com- 
pany did not abandon the three-shift basis as a principle, and 
intends to continue with three shifts as business returns to 

Another prominent steel company* which followed a 
policy of paying as much for eight as for twelve hours,® was 

* The American Boiling Mill Company. 

• Including bonus. The company set up a minimum wage per eight* 
hour shift for each job which was eleven-fourteenths of the earnings on 
the same job on a twelve-hour basis. To this was added a bonus arrange- 
ment by which the men could make as much on the eight-hour shift as 
they had on the twelve-hour shift, through increase in production. 



cited in the 1920 report as coming out almost even. But at 
that time the company was reluctant to pronounce its three- 
shift system a permanent success until it had withstood de- 
pression as well as prosperity. In the fall of 1921, this com- 
pany reported that in its producing departments— open- 
hearth and rolling mills— nothing would be gained by gomg 
back to two shifts. In the service departments expenses 
would be cut to some extent if the company were willing to 
go back to two shifts, but as to the amount of the loss which 
three-shift operation meant in these departments, the com- 
pany was not certain. They did not intend, however, to go 

back to two shifts. 

Another three-shift company," whose plant ranks among 
the largest and most diversified in the steel industry, and 
whose employees originally petitioned for and accepted three 
shifts on a basis of no higher earnings per hour than were 
paid in two-shift plants, reported in 1920 that its manning 
had increased 50 per cent. In January, 1922, this company 
gave the increase as 35 to 50 per cent. ; ' and, after reiterating 
its feeling of satisfaction with the working of three shifts 
added: "We are strongly opposed to twelve-hour working 
shifts, though not opposed to a ten-hour day where conditions 
seem to make that desirable. We believe that industry in 
this country can be so conducted as to permit of eight-hour 
shifts in continuous operations." The company believes that 
some of the stronger-bodied European laborers have sought 
employment in the East where they can work twelve hours 
and, therefore, earn more pay. This, however, has not pre- 

« ThA Oolorado Fuel and Iron Company. 

• The investigator was unable tS detennine by correspondence 
whethir thrrep esented a definite improvement due to the paBBage of 
wnetner ^^is rep differace in the way of putting the 

fiCrVth^ latter estfma?^b the more carefully made. Owing 

^^Z\ to many changes in operating conditions, the company reported 
ISiutVoulTbe diS^f no? impossible, to make a perfect comparison. 



vented the company from being "strongly in favor of the 
eight-hour shift." 

The evidence collected in 1920 and a weighing of the ex- 
perience of 1921 and 1922 would indicate that it is doubtful 
whether all the departments of a steel plant can be operated 
as cheaply on three shifts as on two shifts, if the men receive 
as much pay for eight hours as for twelve. But there is 
tangible evidence, strengthened by the developments of the 
last year, which indicates that under active and able manage- 
ment and with reasonable cooperation on the part of labor, 
costs on the three-shift system can be kept as low as on the 
two-shift system, provided wage-rates are compromised so 
that eight-hour men receive pay equivalent to ten hours' in- 
stead of twelve hours' pay. Such a compromise, or even one 
less liberal, is ordinarily satisfactory to the men. 

At the same time care should be taken not to be over- 
confident. Most managements do not give the attention 
which they might give to the matter of securing the highest 
attainable degree of labor efficiency; so that it is probable 
that, in case of a general change from two to three shifts in 
the steel industry, assuming a fifty-fifty compromise on daily 
wages, the greater proportion of the plants would, for the time 
being at least, note some increase in labor cost. But, as shown 
in the special reports on steel referred to above, this in- 
crease in cost could not be large ; and there is no reason why 
it should not be practically offset by intangible improvements 
in relations and operations, due to the plant's being on a more 
satisfying day. 

It is very significant that, during the late period of very 
acute depression, exceedingly few companies, either in the 
steel industry or in other industries, have seen fit to go back 
from eight-hour to twelve-hour shifts. 






One of the outstanding facts developed by the present in- 
vestigation has been the variety and apparent contradiction in 
the shift arrangements followed in the different continues- 
industries or in separate sections of the same industry. For 
instance, the steel industry has continued to operate largely 
on the two-shift system whereas in all the non-ferrous metal 
industries the eight-hour shift became general long ago and 
iajiQW practically universaL 
f The processes in smelting and refining ferrous and non- 
/ ferrous metals are essentially similar. The equipment in tiie 
way of furnaces, converters, and rolling mills is often quite 
analogous. Labor-saving equipment, indeed, has been mtro- 
duced more generally and on a larger scale in the steel indus- 
try than is true of the non-ferrous smelting and refining plants, 
thus lightening human labor to a degree which makes the eight- 
hour shift less necessary. Fumes or other undesirable work- 
iSi' conditions may sometimes argue for the shorter work 
period more strongly in the non-ferrous than in the ferrous 
plants. But these reasons are inadequate to account for the 
profound difference in practice. The reason does not lie in 
the nature of the industries or of the work, but in the attitude 
gljeipployers and employees. 
/The three-shift system in the metal industries is a western 
(development. Originally the western smelters were on 
twelve-hour shifts. But all inquiries which have been made 
of mining and refining companies regarding present practice 
have been met with the same reply, that all the non-ferrous 
/ metal plants in the West of which the companies have knowl- 
/ edge are on three shifts, the change usually having been made 
V twenty or thirty years ago.' Important factors m bringing 
V_ .B E. Thum, Associate Editor of Chemical and Metallurgial En^ 
gineeringrwrote to the Hew Tork Time, under date of March 9, 1921 

** '" ' Hould call your attention to the fact that in copper and lead 




about this development have been the greater strength of the 
unions in the West and the stronger sentiment there in favor 

of shorter hours. 

Although the evidence collected indicates that three shifts 
long ago became the rule in the non-ferrous metal industries 
of the West, yet the outbreak of the War found various copper, 
zinc, and nickel plants in the East and South still operating 
two twelve-hour shifts. The abolition of the twelve-hour day 
in the non-ferrous metal industries of the East and South was 
a development of the War ; but it has been so complete that 
extended inquiry has failed to reveal any important non- 
ferrous metal plant in any part of the country which is not at 
the present time on three shifts. The only satisfactory ex- 
planation for the difference between the course of the steel 
industry and the non-ferrous metal industries in the East 
and South would seem to lie in the greater mass of the steel 
industry, which made it react more slowly to the sudden 
external pressure which accompanied the War, and also made 
it present a larger problem quantitatively, particularly in a 
period of labor shortage. 

Though the investigation failed to disclose any important 
non-ferrous metal plant which is on two shifts, in some less 
important places some twelve-hour work has been found. 
Two shifts are still the practice in some of the later-stage 
processes in the lead industry; and in the case of certain 

smelters the eight-hour shift is very common, and has been for many 
years. The exact date when the change from the twelve-hour shift to the 
eight-hour shift in the western smelters occurred the writer cannot def- 
initely state. However, he entered the employ of the Anaconda Copper 
Mining Company early after the completion of their Washoe Smelter m 
Anaconda— a plant which rivals many of the Steel Corporation s plants 
in size and number of employees— that is to say, nearly twenty years ago. 
Men at that plant have always worked on the three-shift plan, 7 to d, 
3 to 11, 11 to 7. Since that time I have traveled rather extensively m 
the United States, and believe I have visited every lead or copper smelter 
west of the Mississippi River, and in none of these plants was a twelve- 
hour shift in effect. All of them naturally operate furnaces which are in 
blast continuously from the year's beginning to its end. 





auxiliary jobs in the making of aluminum. The twelve-hour 
shift was also found in two small Philadelphia plants which 
prepare miscellaneous metals and alloys, using scrap or new 
metal. A more exhaustive analysis might show other odd 
places in which twelve-hour jobs are to be found. But in 
few instances, if any, are twelve-hour shifts to be found in 
the primary smelting, refining, or rolling processes of non- 
ferrous metal plants. 


No copper or other non-ferrous metal plants located west 
of the Mississippi River were visited, in view of the long 
time which has elapsed since their change from two to three 
shifts, but several persons active in the management of such 
plants were consulted in the East. A representative of the 
Anaconda Copper Company was of the opinion that their 
smelter had been on eight-hour shifts for twenty-years — ^he 
was of the opinion, indeed, that they had never been on 
twelve-hour shifts. In the western plants of the American 
Smelting and Refining Company the twelve-hour shift was 
abandoned something like twenty years ago and now day- 
workers as well as shift-workers are on eight hours. 

For the most part, the details of what happened in west- 
em copper and other non-ferrous metal plants twenty years 
ago when the three-shift system was established have passed 
from memory. Records are not to be found. 

A much more complete, trustworthy and recent concep- 
tion of the meaning of the change from two to three shifts in 
the metal industries can be obtained by noting the experience 
of plants in the East or South. Some of the eastern plants 
went to three shifts under unusual war conditions, which 
introduced abnormal factors into the transition. But the 
Tennessee Copper Company changed from twelve-hour to 
eight-hour shifts at a time when conditions were nearer nor- 



mal than at almost any other time in recent years, namely, in 
February, 1919. 

The Tennessee Copper Company has mines and a smelter 
at Copper Hill, Tennessee. The copper ore in this locality 
is rich in sulphur, so that a large sulphuric acid plant has 
been built to make acid out of the smelter fumes. Acid plant, 
smelter, and auxiliaries together require about ^yq hundred 
and sixty employees. All employees are white. 

The change to three shifts was made largely because the 
company at that time adopted a policy of recognizing and bar- 
gaining with the union, and the union was strong for eight 
hours. The agreement made with the unions at the time of 
reducing hours did not call for any increase in hourly wage 
rates. In fact, there was some actual saving to the company 
in this respect because of the cutting out of overtime work. 
But wages were fixed by a sliding scale agreement which did 
cause the rates to rise later on in 1919. Whereas prior to 
February 1, the pay for common labor was four dollars and 
twenty cents for a twelve-hour day (thirty cents an hour 
straight time, forty-five cents an hour overtime — average for 
the twelve hours, thirty-five cents) and immediately after 
February 1, two dollars and forty cents for an eight-hour 
day (thirty cents an hour) in time, the pay rose to three dol- 
lars and forty-eight cents for an eight-hour day. Later on 
wages again dropped. At the beginning of 1922 they stood 
at two dollars and forty-eight cents for an eight-hour day, 
or thirty-one cents an hour. However, at many times the 
company has voluntarily kept wages above the level to which 
they would have fallen under the sliding scale. The rate of 
thirty-one cents in 1922 was about 29 per cent, higher than 
the standard for twelve-hour work in the South, and higher by 
much more than 29 per cent, than the rate paid in many 
plants. So on the wage question it may be said that the men 
in this plant sought and accepted the eight-hour shift at a 





sacrifice of more than one-third of their earnings, but that 
the company, when prices and wages generally went to lower 
levels, saw to it that the hourly rates were maintained at a 
somewhat higher level than would probably have been the case 
had the two-shift system been retained. This wage differen- 
tial was, however, nearer 25 or 30 than 50 per cent. 

Whatever burden may have arisen in the matter of wage- 
rates was, however, more than off-set by increased eflSciency. 
Immediately after the displacement of twelve-hour by eight- 
hour shifts, efficiency improved. It kept on improving; in- 
deed, some of the most substantial improvements came in 
1921, more than two years after the change. Gain in effi- 
ciency came through several channels. A great many jobs 
were consolidated, so that a man was able to do his own work 
and that of others. Thus where two men had been serving 
two acid towers a bridge would be built between the two and 
one man would serve both. Or perhaps three jobs would be 
combined to form two, new wage-rates appropriate to the 
heavier responsibility being established. Coupled with the 
reduction in manning there has also been an increase in the 
tonnage obtained from the equipment, as respects both copper 
and acid. 

As illustration of the tangible character of the gains in 
efficiency, an output of 30.49 tons of ore per man daily during 
January, 1921, was increased to 35.42 tons of ore per man 
daily in September, an increase of 16 per cent. These, of 
course, are only the more recent of the gains which have fol- 
lowed upon shorter hours. Long run figures might reflect 
better the improvement in its entirety, but at the same time 
would be more apt to be influenced by disturbing factors. It 
may be noted, however, that a comparison of production as it 
was in 1913 — prior to the War — under the two-shift system, 
with production in 1921 under the three-shift system, showed 
an increase of 28.8 per cent, in the tons of ore smelted per 



man — ^this in spite of a reduction in the hours of smelter and 
acid employees from twelve to eight, and of miners (whom 
the figures include) from nine-and-a-half to eight. 

The officers of the company recognize that a change to 
three shifts made a year or two earlier than February, 1919, 
might not have f oimd the men disposed to do so much better. 
But, while the termination of the war period may have been 
a more or less necessary condition to securing greater effi- 
ciency, this is to be regarded only as the removal of a hin- 
drance, and not as in itself the cause of the heightened 
efficiency. It is also to be noted that the increased efficiency 
came mostly in connection with new plans for manning 
worked out by the management, and was aided by a general 
improvement in the relations between management and men 
due to efforts made along various lines by the company. But 
it was primarily because the men were on an eight-hour and 
not a twelve-hour shift that the management felt justified 
in tightening up on discipline, and was able to succeed with 
drastic cuts in the number of employees. And the shortening 
of hours was the central factor in the improved relations and 
spirit which led to the men's better response. 

This complexity of cause and effect, of course, makes it 
difficult, if not impossible, to find any precise statistical 
formula for the effect on efficiency and cost of going from 
two to three shifts. But the investigation showed that all 
the heads of departments at Copper Hill were agreed that 
the change to an eight-hour shift had been of benefit to the 
company. Men who had opposed such an arrangement had, 
after three years of trial, become enthusiastic. 

The officers in charge of personnel report that the men are 
much better satisfied than formerly : The company has been 
trying to work in cooperation with the union and has also 
established machinery for receiving and handling grievances. 
But since the shortening of hours operation has proceeded 











with so little friction that the grievance committee has prac- 
tically ceased to function. The company is in the peculiar 
position of having recognized and supported rather than 
antagonized the development and functioning of the union, 
only to find that the union membership has been falling off, 
due to the lessening of the irritations which had existed while 
hours were long, and the disinclination of the men under 
these circumstances to pay their dues. Furthermore the men 
work more regularly than while on the twelve-hour shift. The 
company has not noted any change in the accident rate which 
could be attributed to the change. All employees, day-work- 
ers and shift-workers, are on eight hours, the shift-workers 
constituting about 45 per cent, of the total force (mines not 


At Palmerton, Pa., is located the main plant of the New 
ersey Zinc Company, producing smelter, zinc oxide, and 
lithopone and also operating two regulation blast furnaces for 
the manufacture of spiegel iron. The plant is, in fact, a steel 
as well as a zinc plant. From 60 to 70 per cent, of the 
employees are on shift-work, the chief day-work being con- 
struction, repair-work, and shop-work. 

The Palmerton works changed from two to three shifts 
about 1915. In making the change to three shifts the com- 
pany endeavored not to increase the number of men. This 
aim they approximated but did not fully reacL 

The main product of the Palmerton plant is zinc oxide. 
On the twelve-hour shift, a man pulled six fires per shift. 
On the eight-hour shift the number was eight fires per shift. 
Thus, as regards this particular operation, the men accom- 
plished more in eight than in twelve hours. The work on 
the twelve-hour shift had, however, been heavier than it is 
on the eight-hour shift, because the furnaces formerly had to 




be charged from the floor. Under the present arrangement 
there is a saving in the labor of shoveling. 

The production of spelter had, under the two-shift system, 
been a twenty-four-hour job. The daily campaign in this 
department is still twenty-four hours long; but the work is 
divided between two gangs of men who do not wait for relief. 
One set of men comes on at 5 a. m. with certain work to do, 
for which they are paid so much. When they get through 
they go. This may be at the end of four hours, or it may 
take six or seven hours. Later on the other set of men do 
the drawing. In this department the company was able to 
make the desired reduction in hours without increasing the 
force, through the arrangement described. 

The blast furnaces were an exception. These were 
changed to three shifts about a year later than the rest of the 
plant. In a few cases it was possible to arrange the manning 
so that one man could serve both stacks; but, on the whole, 
there was little saving in manning of the blast furnaces. The 
men now have about an hour-and-a-half of free time between 
casts. But the company believes that, even under the eight- 
hour shift, the men should have that much rest. 

The zinc rolling mills, which started in 1917, were never 
on twelve-hour shifts. In 1920, they were on three eight- 
hour shifts. In 1921, owing to slack business, they ran only 
one nine-hour shift. 

The experience at Palmerton throws some light on the 
question as to what is apt to be the final relation between wage- 
rates in twelve- and eight-hour plants after a series of wage 
advances and wage declines have made out-of-date the special 
adjustment in wages made at the time of changing hours. At 
the time of going to three shifts, the New Jersey Zinc Com- 
pany made a liberal adjustment of wage-rates, thus lessening 
the financial burden which would have had to be borne by 
the men because of going to shorter hours. However, six 






years of ups and downs in the general labor market resulted 
by 1921 in wages in this eight-hour plant being thirty-two 
cents an hour for men newly taken on, as against twenty- 
seven cents an hour for the twelve-hour work at Bethlehem, 
and thirty cents an hour for twelve-hour work at Pittsburgh. 
Thus at the time of making the comparison, these other 
Pennsylvania plants, by maintaining a twelve-hour day, were 
getting men to work only from two to five cents an hour 
cheaper than the rate which was paid men who worked eight 
hours. It will be observed that the efficiency in the eight-hour 
shift plant had been increased in a ratio much larger than 
this wage differential. 

The management at Palmerton is of the opinion that the 
costs are lower under the eight-hour shift system than they 
were under the two-shift system. They think it possible that 
during the depression of 1921 they might have been able to 
put their men back on two shifts and reduce hourly wage-rates. 
But this would have been only because of the unusual con- 
ditions then existing. Taking a ten-year period, they think 
the three-shift system would be more profitable than the two- 
shift system. 

The day-work at Palmerton was reduced from ten to nine 

At Palmerton, as well as elsewhere in the zinc industry, 
there is a peculiar variation of the three-shift system, 
probably imported from abroad. In one department, there 
are three sets of men working six-hour shifts each. Each 
gang is on six hours, off twelve hours, and on six hours. 
Thus the men come to work six hours earlier each day, and 
in four days have accomplished a complete rotation. The 
total number of hours worked in the week is, of course, the 
same as though they had worked eight-hour shifts. 




Most of the lead produced in the United States is turned 
into white lead (oxidized) and used in paint. The smelting 
of lead and the oxidizing of lead is carried on in separate 
plants, thus dividing the industry into two branches. 

The principal producer of white lead reports that in lead- 
smelting three shifts have prevailed for many years. 

But this is not true of the oxidizing plants. The great 
bulk of the employees in an oxidizing plant are on day-work 
only. In the department where the oxidation actually takes 
place the operation is continuous ; and such shift-workers as 
the company employs are on two twelve-hour shifts, except 
at the Pittsburgh plant, where they are on three shifts, but 
the number of shift-workers is small. The whole of the 
oxidizing department requires only a small proportion of the 
total force ; and most of the actual work in this department, 
such as the emptying of the stacks, is done by day-workers. 
Only the work of tending the furnaces — requiring alto- 
gether about half the employees in this one department — is 
on twelve-hour shifts. 


The International Nickel Company put its Bayonne plant 
on three shifts in October, 1915, late enough to have the war 
labor situation to contend with at the start, or shortly after- 
wards. They were able to make some savings in the number 
of men required per shift. Also there was some gain in 
output. As the equipment is only supposed to turn out so 
much product, it might be supposed that it could make no 
difference in output whether the men worked twelve hours or 
eight. But sometimes there are breakdowns or other sources 
of trouble, and it has been found that, especially in hot 
weather, production is started again more quickly after an 









interruption when the men are on eight-hour shifts. The 
management states that the increased efficiency of the men 
due to going to three shifts is approximately 20 per cent. 
This helped to counterbalance the increase in pay-roll ex- 
pense, which was 50 per cent. The eight-hour men were 
given the same amount of money they had formerly received 
for twelve hours. 

In addition to the tangible gains in efficiency represented 
by the 20 per cent, there were many intangible benefits de- 
rived from the shortening of hours. For instance, the com- 
pany had previously made a practice of shutting down during 
July and August. Supposedly this was for repairs ; but the 
real reason was that the men would not work during the hot 
months. But since the establishment of the three-shift system 
the company has operated throughout the year. There has 
been also tightening up of discipline. An especially bad 
feature of the old system was the twenty-four hour turn, 
which came when shifts were rotated. For a couple of days 
after they had worked these hours, the men were not up to 
their usual standard of performance. The three-shift system 
eliminated this feature. 

Considering the intangible factors, the company is well 
satisfied with the outcome of three-shift operation. The 
management thinks that it is important to get away from the 
twelve-hour shift on work which must go on seven days a 
week. In any place where the work is at all heavy the 
management would not consider two-shift operation. In 
1921, because of slackness and demoralization of production, 
the company did not run on its regular schedule, and there 
was some reversion to longer hours. But this was only tem- 
porary. The management believes in the ten-hour day for 

In Canada, where the International Nickel Company has 
more employees than in the United States, the results of 



going to three shifts were better than at Bayonne. This was 
largely because operations were not affected so much by the 
war labor situation. It happened that the employees in 
Canada were Austrians; and of course, under the circum- 
stances of the War, the Austrians were not so free to move 
about as were the American employees. It may be noted 
that when the Canadian plant was first put on three shifts, 
the other plants in the district were all on two shifts. Now 
all have gone to three shifts. 

The operating head thought that during the depression of 
1921 it might have been possible to compel a return to two 
shifts as the men could have been induced to do anything. 
But in normal times he did not think it could be done. Some- 
times it is hard to get men who have always worked on a 
twelve-hour shift (this company had formerly had an alterna- 
tion of ten- and fourteen-hour shifts) to think of anything 
but the money which would be sacrificed in changing to a 
shorter day. But when once accustomed to the shorter shift 
they could not be persuaded to return to the longer one. 

At one time the International Nickel Company had a 
plan by which the men on each group of furnaces had one 
day off in the week ; their places being taken in rotation by 
a force of experienced men who were able to handle the jobs 
on the various furnaces, and who themselves had Sunday off. 
This plan gave the men a forty-eight-hour week. It worked 
well, and both the men and the company liked it. However, 
following a strike, and the subsequent infusion into the force 
of many inexperienced men, the plan was given up and has 
not been resumed. 

The management of this company believes that accidents 
are less frequent under the three-shift plan. 


h M 

'4 i 









The Aluminum Company of America adopted three-shift 
operation in the "nineties," while their works were still con* 
centrated at New Kensington, near Pittsburgh. Each new 
plant has been operated on the three-shift basis. A very 
small portion of the employees at each plant are on a twelve- 
hour basis, but this is confined to engineers, stokers (where 
work is automatic) and watchmen. 

The production of metallic aluminum involves what is 
necessarily a continuous process, and the majority of the 
employees are on three shifts per day, which do not rotate 
unless the men themselves so desire it. Ordinarily there is a 
permanent day, and two permanent night, gangs. However, 
where the men request rotation, this is arranged for, either 
weekly, or bi-weekly, by reducing to eight hours the time off 
between shifts, one shift having thirty-two hours off. 

In the rolling and fabricating of aluminum, the work is 
not strictly continuous. Of the 3,000 men employed at the 
New Kensington works, approximately two-thirds work on 
two ten-hour shifts and one-third are on day-work entirely. 
Inasmuch as it was more than twenty years ago, and in 
the infancy of the company, that three shifts (on most of 
the work) were substituted for two shifts, it is not possible 
to make any very definite comparison between the results of 
the two methods of operation. The company is of the opinion 
that the work is so lacking in real physical strain, consisting, 
for instance, of such work as watching gauges, that there 
would be nothing physically impossible in the men working 
twelve hours. The obstacle to twelve-hour shifts would be the 
general sentiment against it and the diflSculty of getting the 
men to go on such a basis ; nor would the company itself want 
to go back — ^barring foreign competition on such a basis as 
would compel it. 

' \ 



So far as day-work is concerned, and wherever it is pos- 
sible so to arrange it on shift-work, the company believes in 
the ten-hour day.. It is the conviction of the executives that, 
while, at the time of going from ten to eight hours, men 
might do as much in eight as in ten hours, after a number of 
years it would be found that they had dropped back to the 
old standard rate per hour. 










.1 iHttHkam,,^"!^^.^ 





The Aluminum Company of America adopted three-shift 
operation in the "nineties," while their works were still con* 
centrated at New Kensington, near Pittsburgh. Each new 
plant has been operated on the three-shift basis. A very 
small portion of the employees at each plant are on a twelve- 
hour basis, but this is confined to engineers, stokers (where 
work is automatic) and watchmen. 

The production of metallic aluminum involves what is 
necessarily a continuous process, and the majority of the 
employees are on three shifts per day, which do not rotate 
unless the men themselves so desire it. Ordinarily there is a 
permanent day, and two permanent night, gangs. However, 
where the men request rotation, this is arranged for, either 
weekly, or bi-weekly, by reducing to eight hours the time off 
between shifts, one shift having thirty-two hours off. 

In the rolling and fabricating of aluminum, the work is 
not strictly continuous. Of the 3,000 men employed at the 
New Kensington works, approximately two-thirds work on 
two ten-hour shifts and one-third are on day-work entirely. 

Inasmuch as it was more than twenty years ago, and in 
the infancy of the company, that three shifts (on most of 
the work) were substituted for two shifts, it is not possible 
to make any very definite comparison between the results of 
the two methods of operation. The company is of the opinion 
that the work is so lacking in real physical strain, consisting, 
for instance, of such work as watching gauges, that there 
would be nothing physically impossible in the men working 
twelve hours. The obstacle to twelve-hour shifts would be the 
general sentiment against it and the difficulty of getting the 
men to go on such a basis ; nor would the company itself want 
to go back — ^barring foreign competition on such a basis as 
would compel it. 



So far as day-work is concerned, and wherever it is pos- 
sible so to arrange it on shift-work, the company believes in 
the ten-hour day.. It is the conviction of the executives that, 
while, at the time of going from ten to eight hours, men 
might do as much in eight as in ten hours, after a number of 
years it would be found that they had dropped back to the 
old standard rate per hour* 







n ^ 




The making of glass and glass products may be regarded 
either as a single industry or as a group of industries. All 
glass is alike, in that it is made from raw ingredients of 
certain kinds melted in pots or tanks and later annealed. 
But it will be found that the difference in the processes by 
which the various glass products are given their final form are 
often of the most fundamental character. 

Fumnces, Pots and Tanks 

In every glass works is to be found a furnace with its pots 
or continuous tanks. Whether pots or tanks are used, the 
firing and the supervision of the melting is a twenty-four- 
hour procedure. It is well to keep the continuous nature of 
the furnace work in glass plants in mind, because it is here 
that the problem of the twelve-hour shift is mainly to be 
found. We shall find that in some branches of glass working, 
long hours have perhaps never existed, and that in others 
they have been nearly eliminated within the last few years. 
But until quite recently, the twelve-hour shift was the rule 
for men employed in either a supervisory or laboring capacity 
about glass furnaces ; and the practice is still a common one, 
even where almost all other employees, especially those work- 
ing on shifts, are on a day of about eight hours. 

The number of furnace men in a glass plant is usually 
small. If in addition to the men about the furnaces those 




employed on the annealing ovens or leers are on twelve-hour 
shifts, then the total of twelve-hour employees may constitute 
a considerable group. But there are glass plants (with fur- 
naces on two shifts) where, at any one time, not more than 
one or two men would be working on the twelve-hour basis. 
Compared with much of the other work about a glass plant, 
a furnace man may have a good deal of waiting to do. But 
there will be times when the work is hot. 

The operator of a glass tank is called a shearer in the 
East, and in the West a teaser. In the case of large tanks 
he will have other men as helpers. There is a difference of 
opinion in the glass industry as to whether it is sound prac- 
tice to have the teaser on eight-hour shifts. The proportion 
of such men is not large enough to make much difference in 
the pay roll. But it is held by some manufacturers that 
better results come from having two, rather than three, dif- 
ferent men responsible for the melt. Other glass manufac- 
turers, however, do not hold this opinion. Only a few miles 
from the spot where a bottle manufacturer, who had put his 
teasers on three shifts, said it did not work so well, a manu- 
facturer of chemical glass, who had made the same change, 
said it offered no handicap. Many other glass manufacturers 
consulted have taken the position that there is no technical 
obstacle in the way of having three teasers on the job. This 
is especially the case where the use of pyrometers and a 
definite system of instructions and inspection has so strength- 
ened the technical control over the process that the real 
responsibility is no longer in the hands of the two or three 
men who take turns on the furnace, — the work being planned 
and controlled by the technical staff. 

Under modern operation and supervision, not much real 
difficulty is ordinarily to be expected in detailing three, in- 
stead of two, men to have charge of the glass furnace or tank. 
It is possible that in some special branches of glass manufac- 







I ill 










ture, where the process still depends upon individual knack 
and skill, and has not been thoroughly reduced to formula, it 
may simplify matters if one man does duty for twelve hours, 
rather than have a supervision which changes every eight 
hours. But at most, the area in which it may possibly be 
more satisfactory to have long shifts — whether because of the 
special character of the glass, or because of the type of man- 
agement employed — is small ; and with improvement in tech- 
nical knowledge and control is certain to diminish. Even 
at present there is nowhere an absolute bar to going to three 

Most branches of the glass industry are strongly union- 
ized ; but the unions have not included teasers or other fur- 
nace men. Within the last few years, some of the labor 
organizations have been trying to extend union rules to cover 
furnace men, and have succeeded in getting their hours re., 
duced to eight. In other cases, such a change has been 
initiated by the employer. A large proportion of the furnace 
men engaged in the manufacture of flint glass, bottles, and 
window glass are still on twelve-hour shifts. 

Flint Glass. 

For convenience in classification there will be included 
under the head of flint glass all of the less specialized lines 
of glass manufacture, whether it be pressed ware, electrio 
bulbs, chemical glass, or any of the innimierable small articles 
made of glass — in contradistinction to those more outstanding 
branches of the industry given over to the making of bottles, 
window glass, and plate glass. Aside from the melting of 
the glass, which necessarily requires that the furnace men 
serve through the night, this more general and miscellaneous 
section of the glass industry is not, in the majority of plants, 
operated absolutely continuously. 

Taking the glass industry as a whole, continuous-operation 



in the shaping of the product has been a matter of develop- 
ment, rather than something which inhered in the craft. 
Originally all glass was made in pots; and this is still the 
case in many types of glass manufacture. Under the pot 
system, the necessity for continuous-operation is not com- 
pelling. There is nothing to prevent such an arrangement 
of the firing of the pots, that all can be drawn at specified 
times of the day. Thus the actual working in glass can be 
confined within whatever hours may seem desirable. But 
with the introduction of the continuous tank the economy of 
drawing glass throughout the twenty-four hours becomes an 
important consideration. 

The arrangement of working hours in the several 
branches of the glass industry may be said to have passed 
through the following stages of evolution : 

1. The glass is made in pots and turned into finished 

products by hand by men working on one shift, or, 
more likely, on two shifts of from eight to eight- 
and-a-half hours each. 

2. The introduction in a portion (but not all) of the 

plants of continuous tanks and automatic or semi- 
automatic machinery, has caused that portion of the 
industry to run through the twenty-four hours, most 
probably on twelve-hour shifts. 

3. To meet the competition of the machine plants, the 

hand-workers agree to work on three eight-hour 
shifts, thus enabling their employers to get a 
larger output from their equipment, save in fuel, 

4. In the last few years the machine plants have been 

changing from two twelve-hour to three eight-hour 

The flint glass industry is, for the most part, still in the 








I ,» 









first of these four stages of development. A large part of 
the work is still hand-work. In the hand plants, one set of 
men work in the day-time two shifts of four hours or f our- 
and-a-quarter hours each, making a day of eight, or eight- 
and-a-half hours. Another set of men work at night two 
shifts of four or four-and-a-quarter hours each, making a 
night shift of eight or eight-and-a-half hours. Thus the daily 
operating time is sixteen or seventeen hours. The employers 
are very eager to work continuously with three sets of men. 
It has been tried a few times in cases of emergency, and it 
was found that the employer who used his equipment twenty- 
four hours had an important advantage over competitors, in 
the matter of cost. 

But the flint glass workers engaged on hand-work are 
thoroughly organized and are strongly opposed to putting on 
a third shift to run through the small hours of the morning. 
A force, however, which may eventually break down their 
resistance is the further adoption of automatic machinery. 

The two eight-hour (or eight-and-one-half hour) shift 
system in hand-operated flint glass factories applies only to 
that major portion of the industry which is unionized. In 
the case of the Corning Glass Works, whose employees are 
not organized, the hand-workers were formerly employed on 
two ten-hour shifts. In August, 1921, those workers engaged 
in the manufacture of pyrex were changed from two ten-hour 
to three eight-hour shifts. The company reports that the 
change from ten-hour to eight-hour shifts resulted in: 

1. Increased output per running hour. 

2. A longer working week (for the plant). 

3. Reduced overhead. 

4. Better service. 

6. Less absenteeism (excepting on the Sunday night 

6. Reduced labor turnover. 



The two gains last mentioned were in part attributable 
to the change in general labor conditions. The chief difficulty 
in connection with the three-shift system was in obtaining 
punctuality, but the company states that this difficulty has 
tended to disappear and is outweighed by the advantages. 

Machine work in the flint glass industry is to be found 
chiefly in the making of electric bulbs and tubing. Both in 
its mechanical and labor aspects, machine operation presents 
a different problem from hand operation, and the practice in 
the matter of hours and shifts has usually been different. At 
the Corning Glass Works, the bulb alid tube machines were 
on two ten-hour shifts as long as pot furnaces were used. 
With the introduction of the Continuous tank, about Novem- 
ber, 1919, 30 per cent, of the blowing staff were put on con- 
tinuous-operation on eight-hour shifts. In November, 1921, 
the proportion was increased to 85 per cent. The substitution 
of three eight-hour for two ten-hour shifts, besides permitting 
a longer furnace week, resulted in an increase in hourly 
machine output of 20 per cent. Except for this increase in 
production, the quality of the service rendered by the men 
was about the same. There was, however, an improvement in 
respect to absenteeism and labor turnover, partly due to a 
change in general labor conditions. 

At the plant of another glass company, located at Toledo, 
it was found that the automatic machines were operating 
continuously, but on twelve-hour in place of eight-hour shifts. 
The hourly wage rates paid twelve-hour workers in this plant 
were the same as those paid by a competing plant in the same 
city, which operated on three eight-hour shifts. 

In the plant last referred to, the work of finishing bulbs 
has recently been changed from day-work to continuous- 
operation on three eight-hour shifts. This change avoided 
storing partly completed bulbs and was found to be a distinct 


. 1 


1 1 















The labor actually engaged in the hand blowing of bottles 
has never (so far as could be learned) been on a twelve-hour 
day. The old system was two shifts of eight-and-a-half hours 
each. It was the development of automatic machinery which 
influenced the bottle blowers' union, some ten years ago, to 
favor continuous-operation. Since then, the operation has 
been conducted on three eight-hour shifts, which, taking out 
a lunch-period, means about seven hours and a half of actual 

Bottle-blowing machines are of two main types, — auto- 
matic and semi-automatic. Semi-automatic machines require 
hand gathering, and the arrangement of hours is the same as 
that followed in the blowing of bottles by hand. The auto- 
matic machines gather the glass from the tanks, as well 
as blow it into bottles, and do not require the same con- 
tinuous activity on the part of attendants that characterizes 
hand or semi-automatic blowing. 

The automatic machines were originally operated on two 
twelve-hour shifts but about 1915 or 1916, the leading com- 
pany changed to three eight-hour shifts both on machines and 

Window Glass, 

All manufacturers of window glass, so far as is knovm, 
operate continuously, and predominantly on three shifts. But 
there is a considerable number of individual workers who are 
still on twelve-hour shifts. 

At the largest window-glass factory in the United States, 
it was found that up to the time of the depression, all the 
tank men and a considerable number of others had been on 
twelve-hour shifts. Out of a total of 1,300 employees, some 
175 were on twelve-hour shifts, about 354 on eight-hour 
shifts, and about 800 were on ten-hour day-work. 




The twelve-hour employees included (on a single tank) 
the teasers, who have charge of the tank; two fillers (on 
each shift), who operate the charging machinery, reverse the 
drafts, and do whatever actual work may be necessary in 
connection with the running of the furnace; and two skim- 
mers (on each shift), who remove clay from the surface of 
the glass. Also on twelve-hour shifts were the shove boys 
and leer tenders, who introduce and remove the glass from 
the leers. 

The eight-hour employees included all the men in the 
blowing department — ^ladlers, ladle skimmers, blowers, cap- ? 
pers (who cut the cylinders transversely) and also the men M^ 
who cut them longitudinally — as well as the flatteners. 

Glass cutting, and much of the general work about the ^ 
plant, such as that of machinists, electricians, and repair ^ 
work of all sorts, is day-work. 

This company on general principles favored three shifts, 
and expressed satisfaction with the results of eight-hour work 
periods and the belief that the men do not decline in efficiency 
through the day so much on eight-hour as on twelve-hour 
shifts. The company is tending towards the elimination of 
twelve-hour work. During the depression, teasers (but not 
the furnace men) were put on eight-hour shifts ; and it was 
expected to continue this arrangement. 

Ten or twelve years ago, the flatteners worked twelve- 
hour shifts. The company proposed going to eight-hour shifts 
so as to get more output per hour. The men agreed. The 
result was a material increase in the volume of flattening per 
hour; though less was done in an eight-hour period than in 
twelve hours. Flattening is very particular work ; it is easy 
to spoil much glass through bad flattening. It is also hot 
work. There can be no question in the opinion of this man- 
agement, but that from the production as well as the humani- 
tarian standpoint the eight-hour shift is much preferable to 


1 1 




the twelve-hour shift for flattening. In fact this company 
would prefer six-hour shifts, which would give the maximum 
output per hour, though not per shift. Occasionally, as dur- 
ing the depression, the men who are on piece work will work 
on six-hour shifts. 

The arrangements regarding hours described for this one 
plant are more or less typical of those prevailing in the 
cylinder-machine window glass industry. Some of the plants 
have gone a little farther in eliminating twelve-hour work; 
and, on the other hand it is possible that in some of the 
smaller companies the men operating blowing machines, or 
perhaps even the flatteners, may be on twelve hours. 

In the hand window-glass plants, it is understood that 
the craftsmen work eight hours — actually seven-and-a-half — 
though when running short-handed they may sometimes work 
twelve hours. 

In the manufacture of sheet glass, the Libbey-Owens 
Sheet Glass Company changed from two to three shifts about 
three years ago and at the same time established a bonus 
system. Distinctly better results were obtained. The bonus 
had something to do with the improvement, but the whole 
plan for better operations was dependent for its success upon 
getting away from twelve hours. All shift-workers, both 
tank men and machine men, were put on three shifts, but 
the cutters are on day-work, 

Plate Glass. 

The plate glass industry is unorganized. Aside from the 
original melting of the glass in pots, it is in its methods an 
entirely different industry from those which have been de- 
scribed as coming under the head of glass. Plate glass 
manufacture is an industry of large equipment and ma- 
chinery, rather than of personal skill. The glass is cast 
from pots and rolled flat. It is passed through an annealing 



leer, ground on revolving tables, and, after resetting, polished 
on similar tables. It is moved by overhead cranes; and on 
the whole the industry is more comparable to the steel in- 
dustry than to the glass industry as usually conceived. 

This industry was on two shifts until a few years ago. 
About five or six years ago the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Com- 
pany, the largest producer, went to three shifts. According 
to the president of the company, the change has worked out 

About three years ago the "independent" producers of 
plate glass went to three shifts also. They were not quite 
unanimous in doing this ; but the proportion of the plate glass 
industry still on two shifts is quite small — ^possibly not more 
than two or three plants. 

The "independents" went to three shifts because at the 
time they did so the labor situation was such as to make it 
almost necessary, if they were to hold their labor. None of 
the plants visited had had any technical difficulty in going 
to three shifts. All regarded the change as right, but there 
was not much to report in the way of improvement in effi- 

The factory manager of a Michigan plate glass plant 
visited did not see any difference in the number of men re- 
quired per shift or in the production per hour on eight-hour 
as contrasted with twelve-hour shifts. But the eight-hour 
shift could not cost the company more than the twelve-hour 
shift, so long as there was no increase in the hourly wage 
rate. When this plant went to three shifts, the company 
paid the men just a little less than ten hours' pay for eight 
hours' work. But this advance was in lieu of an increase in 
wages which would have come any way. 

The three-shift plan was adopted because the men kept 
pressing for it. The manager told them that it made no 
difference to the company whether they worked eight-hour 


i ( 







or twelve-hour shifts. (It would actually mean a little more 
bother to have three shifts of men, but that was a minor 
matter.) But it was a time when to secure men was difficult. 
The workers were told that if they were to go on eight hours 
they would have to find the extra crew. This they did, aided 
by the fact that men who had left the glass works because of 
the twelve-hour shift were now willing to come back. 

After the change to three shifts, the more settled men 
began to acquire gardens or small farms. And since they 
were on an eight-hour day, they were able to take care of 
their acreage. In fact, the manager said that, by the help 
of their gardens, the men actually came out better financially 
than they would have come out had they continued to work 
twelve hours in the glass plant — for twelve hours' pay. And 
they were much more independent, in case the plant should 
be compelled to shut down or lay them off. 

In the typical plate glass plant about one-third of the 
employees are shift men, the rest day-workers. In about 
half of the plants the making of the casts is on a single shift. 
In the other half of the plants this work is on two eight-hour 
shifts. In a few cases it might be on two twelve-hour shifts. 
In some plants the casts are made at a different hour each 
day, the process of making the melt and allowing the glass 
to cool before the cast taking a little over twenty-four hours. 

However the casts may be arranged, the work on the glass 
after it comes out of the annealing leer is continuous. The 
main reasons for running the grinding and polishing of plate 
glass continuously are the size and costliness of the machinery 
employed, the desire to get maximum output, and the con- 
venience and economy of not having to stop. 

In the making of plate glass, as is common in the other 
continuous-industries, the various mechanical and labor 
functions, as well as the cutting and shipping of the glass, 
are on day-work. 




Next to the steel industry, cement is probably the most 
important continuous-industry which is still predominantly 
on two shifts.* But the industry is not entirely on two shifts. 
The two companies which, in 1920, turned out respectively 
the largest and the third largest output of cement are on three 
shifts in nearly all of their plants — one having been on this 
system for a number of years. Many of the smaller plants 
are also on three shifts, and a number are partly on three 
shifts, partly on two. 

Report of Conservation Committee of Portlcmd Cement 

For several years, the Portland Cement Association, 
which includes all but a negligible proportion of the cement 
companies, has had a Conservation Committee, whose main 
object has been to make researches for the whole industry 
regarding methods of increasing efficiency or reducing waste, 
mainly along engineering and material lines. The last year 
or two this conmaittee has collected the most exhaustive and 
exact figures which have been found for any industry re- 
garding the relationship between efficiency of production and 
the shift system in the various cement plants. In 1920, 
their survey covered eighty-six plants, or about 50 or 60 
per cent, of all the cement plants in the country. Of these, 
fifty-one were on two shifts, thirteen partly on two and partly 
on three shifts, and twenty-two on three shifts. In the com- 
mittee's full report, the eighty-six plants are classified and 
described in respect to size; as to whether they purchase or 

" Cottonseed oil crushing, though employing fewer persons altogether, 
would probably have more men on shift- work — ^and certainly more men 
on twelve-hour shifts — ^than cement. However, the industry is seasonal. 
The brick industry has, of course, many more employees than the cement 
industry, but comparatively few are on continuous work. 

yr'^HJi^ ;;* 



« ) 





develop power ; as to whether they use coal or oil in their 
kilns; the general characteristics of the process used; the 
per cent, of the year operated, and the practice as respects 
two-shift, two-and-three shift, or three-shift operation. For 
each of the eighty-six plants, there is given the number of 
man-hours which were put in — ^per barrel of cement — in 
each of that plant's departments, as well as figures for the 
plant taken as a whole. Table 3 shows the average man- 
hours, as well as the lowest and highest man-hours, for the 
plants in each of the three groups of two-shift, three-shift, 
and two-three shift plants. 


CoMPARATiyB Labor Efpiciency, 86 Portland Cement Plants, 1920 

(Data supplied by the Committee on Conservation, 
' Portland Cement Association) 




Man-hours to produce one barrel 

Shift system 




in group 


in group 


in group 

Two-shift group 





Thpeenshif t group 

Two- three-shift group 

An important question arises as to whether this clear differ- 
ence in efficiency is due to the shift system, or to some other 
factor. The fact that so many plants are included should 
tend to eliminate averages wide of the mark for purely 
accidental reasons. But is it possible that all the more pro- 
gressive concerns might have gone to three shifts, leaving the 


less progressive on two shifts, or have the large plants more 
generally gone to three shifts, or is there something special 
about the equipment or processes of the twenty-two plants 
on three shifts, and the thirteen on two-three shifts? The 
investigator has raised questions such as these with the chair- 
man of the Conservation Committee, the conservation en- 
gineer who collected the data for the Association and with 
others in cement plants, whose sympathies were sometimes 
with two shifts, sometimes with three shifts. But though 
these gentlemen have sometimes examined in detail the 
characteristics of a number of plants, in no case could they 
see, or had they any reason to suspect, any unfairness in 
the comparison. The investigator noted that sixteen of the 
twenty-two three-shift plants were among the forty-six largest 
plants, and only six among the forty smallest ones. But a 
comparison of three-shift plants with two-shift plants in the 
same general class seemed to indicate that not too much im- 
portance should be attached to this tendency towards differ- 
ence in size. 

From one viewpoint, the figures show almost too great a 
superiority in efficiency for the three-shift plants. When it 
is remembered that usually only 30 or 40 per cent, of the 
employees in a cement plant are on shift-work, a gain in 
output per man-hour of 25 per cent, due to reducing the 
hours of this minority of the men from twelve to eight, is 
so large as almost to seem to necessitate the conclusion that 
other factors must to some extent have influenced the figures. 
If, however, it be considered that the tightening up of effi- 
ciency among the shift-workers may have been a means of 
increasing output and efficiency among the day-workers as 
well, even though the hours of the latter remained unchanged, 
then it is seen that the averages are well within the limits 
of that which is possible, though the story which they tell 
becomes all the more remarkable. 


However the force of these figures might be lessened or 
strengthened by a more perfect knowledge of the conditions 
in the several cement plants, the fact that cost figures col- 
lected for half an industry should, on their face, be thus 
favorable to the three-shift plants is impressive. It makes 
it clear that, whatever may be said of the three-shift system 
in this specific instance or that, the system cannot on the 
whole be a source of serious loss. No doubt there are plants 
where three shifts cost more. But adding all such instances 
together, the losses are not so great but that, when they are 
all totaled and combined into one figure with that for other 
cement plants, the net result is a distinct gain. Indeed, the 
operating eflBciency of the three-shift cement plants is so 
much above that for the two-shift plants as to more than 
counter-balance any possible wage differential which the 
eight-hour shift men might receive. 



Comhmaiion of Two Shifts arid Three Shifts. 

The chairman of the Conservation Committee, Mr. Joseph 
Brobston, firmly believes that three-shift operation is more 
economical than two-shift operation. It is his view, however, 
that a combination of two-shift and three-shift operation is, 
at present, a little more economical than either wholly two- 
shift or wholly three-shift operation, for the reason that the 
two-three shift plants put those departments on three shifts 
where it is more economical to operate three shifts, but leave 
on two shifts any departments where two-shift operation may 
be more economical. Nevertheless, he thinks that eventually 
the eight-hour shift can be put into all the continuous de- 
partments and made to pay its way. 

Most of the cement plants at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, are 
operated on the plan of part two shifts, part three shifts, and 
consequently have given a good deal of attention to the ques- 




tion as to just where it is more economical to operate on 
three shifts. It is the opinion at Nazareth that the most 
important place about a cement plant in which to have eight- 
hour shifts is the kiln room. This room contains long hori- 
zontal kilns in which the powdered stone is calcinated to a 
clinker. The work is hot. The kiln fireman should be alert 
and give careful attention, including frequent observation of 
what is going on within the kiln. It has been found that 
on a shorter day a man can be trusted with more kilns. Thus 
in one cement plant it took four men in the kiln room on 
two shifts — two per shift, but when the plant went to three 
shifts, it took only three men — one per shift. In the case of 
four Nazareth cement plants which put their kiln rooms on 
three shifts, it was found in each instance that no more men 
were required, and also that the output of the kilns was 

Aside from their kiln room, it was stated at a Nazareth 
two-three shift plant visited that there had been a reduction 
in personnel in the drying department and in the handling 
o-f clinker, when those departments were put on three shifts. 
They believed, however, that in the raw crushing, first 
in stone crushers and then in raw mills of various types, 
preparatory to burning, and also in the finishing mills, where 
the clinker is ground to the consistency of flour, it would be 
difficult to get more production, or use fewer men, on eight- 
hour than on twelve-hour shifts. 

In cement plants, generally, quarrying is day-work only, 
though it is not uncommon under special circumstances of 
location or equipment to run quarries on two ten-hour shifts. 

The packing of cement in bags or barrels, and the various 
departments engaged in construction or repair work, as well 
as common labor, are usually on ten-hour day-work — ^whether 
the plant as a whole is on two or three shifts, or mixed. 

Sometimes the crushing, and in some instances a greater 




or smaller part of the grinding, is to be found on a single 
shift, but this last is not regarded as satisfactory practice. 
It is held at Nazareth that one of the most important 
advantages of putting a department on three shifts is the 
elimination of the twenty-four-hour tum^ which comes once a 
week when shifts are rotated. 

Plants Entirely on Three Shifts. 

Taking up the experience of several cement companies 
which have put entire plants on three shifts, it was stated 
at the main office of one of the largest cement producers that 
because of the instability of the labor situation during the 
last few years it was impossible to tell what had been the 
effect of the three-shift system in their plants. But the in- 
vestigator found that the men in charge of one of the plants 
were quite sure that operations went better on three shifts. 
Not much, apparently, had been saved on manning. In the 
engine room, there had been four men on two shifts, and this 
was reduced to three men on three shifts, apparently an in- 
crease of from eight to only nine men. In the boiler room 
they at first reduced the number of men from three per shift 
to two per shift, but they had to increase the number again 
to three. There was some reduction in manning in the raw 
mill. But regardless of any savings in manning, the plant 
managers were positive that in other respects the employees 
did better work on eight-hour than they had done on twelve- 
hour shifts. The men, they knew, preferred three shifts, for 
when individuals were sick, or did not show up for some 
other reason, other men were sometimes asked, during the 
emergency, to work twelve hours. This the men would do, 
but if the practice was continued for any length of time, 
there was objection, in spite of the much greater earnings 
paid for twelve hours. One real advantage of the eight-hour 
shift was the fact that in emergencies the men were more 







willing to double shifts and work sixteen hours, than they 
had been under the old system to work twenty-four hours. 

Among the officers of an Illinois cement company, known 
for its exceptionally high efficiency, there was a measure of 
the same difference of opinion and uncertainty regarding the 
net effects of three-shift operation. But here there was no 
question but that the work went better, the difference of 
opinion being as to whether, considering wage increases, the 
system cost more. Under the three-shift system, the output 
in barrels per man-hour increased about 10 per cent, but 
the management was disposed to attribute that gain, not so 
much to increased labor efficiency, as to large expenditures 
made during this same period for equipment. The manage- 
ment is divided as to whether the new equipment, without 
the three-shift day, could have produced the increase in out- 
put, but it was the opinion of the official who discussed the 
matter that the greater part was due to the machinery. 
Nevertheless, the general opinion of the management was 
that the eight-hour shift worked much more satisfactorily 
than the old arrangement (which was really an alternation 
of eleven-hour and thirteen-hour shifts). 

One feature at this plant which complicates somewhat the 
forming of a clear understanding of the results due to the 
three-shift system alone (as contrasted with the two-shift 
system) is the fact that day-work, as well as shift-work, was 
put on eight hours. There are certain departments where 
the day men still, on occasion, work ten hours. The man- 
agement said that in some of the departments the day-work- 
ers preferred eight hours, but that in one, in particular, they 
preferred ten hours. In going from eight to ten hours at 
one time in this department, the company found that the 
output increased 25 per cent. In the case of this company, 
it was thought that there had been no reduction in the kiln 
room manning in going to three shifts. 







\s\ ' 




A Pacific Coast cement company, to which inquiries were 
addressed, reported that the three-shift system had been in- 
stalled in February, 1918; that there had been a 50 per 
cent, increase in the number of shift employees, without any 
appreciable effect on output, or other gain in efficiency. 

While it is possible that some of the broader assertions 
of doubt or disbelief rh improvement in efficiency under three 
shifts, which are sometimes met with among cement men, 
might be disproved or modified by a first-hand inquiry into 
operating conditions in the plants, it is quite^ probable that 
various cement plants have adopted the three-shift plan with- 
out marked gain in efficiency. This is especially likely of 
concerns which made the change — as all those so far described 
did — under war or post-war conditions, when it was exceed- 
ingly difficult, even under improved systems of management, 
to counteract the general tendency towards slackness, con- 
fusion, and inefficiency, characteristic of the period. In a 
study of the effects of three-shift operation, it is highly im- 
portant, therefore, not to lay too much stress on the experi- 
ences of those plants which adopted three shifts between 
1915-16 and 1919-20. 


Experie7ice of Plcmts which went to Three Shifts Prior to the 

In the cement industry, the uncertainties that surround 
the introduction of three shifts during the war period are 
considerably clarified by recalling the testimony given prior 
to, or in the early days of, the War with reference to such 
concerns as the Atlas Portland Cement Company, and by 
noting the results obtained by the Dixie Portland Cement 
Company, which changed to three shifts about April 1, 1921. 

The Atlas Portland Cement Company, in 1920 the third 
largest in the couiitry, started the movement towards three 
shifts in the cement industry some years ago by putting its 


northern plants on that basis. According to published state- 
ments made in 1917 by Mr. Baker,^ then with the company, 
the gain, or loss which would be apt to come from three shifts 
would depend a good deal on whether a plant was well bal- 
anced and all departments were running near capacity, or 
whether some departments were running only part time. 

"I was somewhat puzzled," remarked Mr. Baker, "when 
I heard Mr. Bissell talking, as to whether he was referring 
to an eight-hour day for a mill that was loaded down 
pretty heavily — ^what we might call a well-balanced mill — or 
whether he was speaking of a mill long on the clinker side or 
long on the raw side. 

"I would say that a plant today that is loaded down 
heavily, well-balanced, running two full shifts, day and 
night, seven days a week — that there are many advantages 
to be gained by the eight-hour day. Undoubtedly you will 
increase your output. If you are running very close now 
(that is, with small production), you cannot help but have 
a higher cost. . . . 

"In many cases there are certain labor conditions that 
can be straightened out effectively by cutting down the num- 
ber of hours. It has been my experience, and I think the 
experience of everyone, that every plant that is operated on 
an eight-hour shift, three shifts a day, thirty-one days a 
month, running it right through, changing shifts every week 
and making the cycle every three weeks, gets very efficient 

"There is one thing I might say further in regard to 
what Mr. Brobston brought up in his paper about the labor 
turnover. We have found it considerably less on our eight- 
hour shifts than we found it on our regular yard and quarry 

'See *' Labor Turnover and the Employment Problem in Cement 
Plants,'* a paper read by Joseph Brobston at the fall meeting of the 
Portland Cement Association, September 11, 1917, and published, with 
discussion, by the Portland Cement Association, 








and outside men who work nine or ten hours at our plants 
... [In making a study of lahor turnover it was discov- 
ered] that about SSVs per cent, of the men had been with 
us five years or more; SSVs per cent, two years or more, 
33 Vs per cent, less than six months [figures as given]. But 
when we worked that out among our shift men, we found a 
rather surprising condition — 85 per cent, of the eight-hour 
shift men had been with the company over five years. This 
shows that the men like the eight-hour day." 

In the course of the same discussion, further figures were 
presented by Mr. Bissell of the Texas Portland Cement 
Company : 

"A few weeks ago I was in California. Mr. Carl 
Leonardt has a kiln there that is the same size as one I have 
at Houston. He is working his burners on eight-hour shifts, 
getting about 7,000 barrels a month more for that kiln than 
I am at Houston. If that is the case, it might pay me to go 
to an eight-hour shift for my burners." 

Later, with reference to the experience of his own com- 
pany in reducing the day in the clinker department from 
twelve to ten hours, Mr. Bissell added: 

"We found on our clinker side that when we cut down 
our men to ten hours we increased the efficiency of that de- 
partment at least 25 per cent. We were grinding at the 
rate of less than 4,000 barrels on two twelve-hour shifts, and 
today we grind at the rate of 5,500 barrels a day on the 
shorter shift." 

A Plant Which Went to Three Shifts in 1921. 

The case of the Dixie Portland Cement Company is of 
interest because the change occurred as recently as April, 
1921, and because it is a southern plant (near Chattanooga) 
employing about 40 or 60 per cent, colored labor. A large pro- 
portion of the colored men are in the quarry or elsewhere 



on day-work; but there are also a considerable number 
engaged on shift-work. 

In this plant the change from two to three shifts was a 
distinct source of profit. The wages of the men were in- 
creased from thirty-three cents an hour to forty cents, that 
is, men on the eight-hour shift received three dollars and 
twenty cents a day, as compared with three dollars and 
thirty cents a day received by ten-hour employees. Thus, 
in going from twelve to eight hours, the men gave up the 
differential which, as twelve-hour men, they had formerly 
received over ten-hour men, but the hourly pay of the eight- 
hour men was so adjusted that their daily earnings did not 
(for those receiving the base rate) drop more than ten cents 
below that of the ten-hour men. Later, at the beginning of 
1922, the rates were changed to thirty cents an hour for 
ten-hour men and thirty-six cents an hour for eight-hour 
men. It will be observed by those familiar with base rates 
as they ran in different parts of the country in 1921 that the 
rates above quoted, even the new thirty cent rate for ten- 
hour work, were well up to the standard prevailing for this 
kind of work in the North, and much above the level common 
in the South. 

But the gain in efficiency due to going to three shifts 
would have wiped out a much greater increase in hourly 
wage-rates than that which the company made. In the first 
place, three shifts required no more men. Taking all the 
shift-work, which includes between 40 and 60 per cent, of 
the employees, the introduction of a third shift was accom- 
panied by only a slight increase in the number of men and 
this small increase in the number of shift-workers was bal- 
anced by a decrease in the number of day-workers. The 
hours of day-workers were not changed from the old stand- 
ard of ten hours. But the pace of the day-workers had 
previously been influenced by the pace set by the twelve-hour 



l:Vi ^ 


workers, so that the removal of the slack from among the 
shift-workers resulted in better work on the part of all those 
employed in the plant. The degree to which the manning 
scale could be cut varied, of course, in different departments. 
But it was not an unconunon thing where four men were 
employed on each of two shifts to get along with three men 
on each of three shifts, or even less. Thus in the kiln room 
it was possible to get along with two kiln firemen or burners 
on each of three shifts in place of three burners on each of 
two shifts — six altogether under either system. But count- 
ing all the men in the kiln room this was one of the depart- 
ments where it took a few more men on three shifts than 
on two. In the finished grinding room the head grinder 
took over the work of the oiler, thus eliminating a job, and 
similar adjustments were made elsewhere in grinding. In 
the case of the boiler room (employing colored labor), they 
were able to get along with as few men on three shifts as 
they had previously had on two. In the case of the engineers 
and oilers (who were white) it was possible to eliminate a 
few, but not to make a striking saving. There was not a 
single department, however, which changed over from two to 
three shifts, where the change was not a tangible gain. 

It is what the management call the intangible gains which 
they regard as of most importance. Under the twelve-hour 
system the men would get to work just in time and then 
change their clothes after their hours of duty had begun. 
Now the men are ready to begin work when their turn starts. 
Similarly at the close of the twelve-hour shift, the manage- 
ment formerly allowed the men to get ready to go home on 
the company's time. They were supposed to take about 
fifteen or twenty minutes. As a matter of fact, they would 
start three-quarters of an hour ahead and that meant not 
only that production slowed up, but during the last three- 
quarters of an hour there was more breakage of machinery. 






In many respects other than these, it was possible and rea- 
sonable to bear down on the men and uphold discipline more 
firmly on the eight-hour shift than had been the practice on 
the twelve-hour shift. The management found that fear of 
overwork on their own part and on that of the men, had, 
under the twelve-hour shift, led both to overmanning and 
to general slackness. 

Notwithstanding the greatly reduced manning, the output 
from equipment was increased. Under the twelve-hour 
system, seven of the eight kilns were about as many as it was 
possible to keep supplied with material. The employees 
hated to think of running all eight at one time. Now the 
simultaneous operation of eight kilns is a matter of course. 

The production records of the Dixie Portland Cement 
Company show the following figures: 

Year per 


1919 87 

1920 91 

1921 72 

Four months, ending November 30, 1921 61 ' 

* The change to three-shift operation was made in April, 1921. 

That this improvement was not due to any special ineffi- 
ciency of the plant under the old system is indicated by the 
fact that of the nine two-shift cement plants in the class of 
the Dixie Portland Cement Company in 1920, this com- 
pany's efficiency was almost exactly at the arithmetical 
average for the group — in fact, much closer to the average 
than any other of the nine plants. 

Both white and colored labor have increased in efficiency. 
The eight-hour shift is popular with both races. As soon as 
it was introduced, white men who had never before offered 
to work in the cement mill, applied for employment. Some 







time previous to the change a number of the company's 
good colored men had been attracted elsewhere, and these 
came back when the change in shifts was made. There are 
many applications from men engaged on ten-hour work in the 
quarry or elsewhere to get on eight-hour shifts. 
- The accident rates are about the same as in 1920. The 
management thinks there has been some elimination of ma- 
terial wastes in line with the general tightening up of dis- 
cipline. It is thought that under the eight-hour arrangement 
efficiency is as good by night as by day. 

The company operates seven days a week. Once a month 
the shifts rotate. At this time two sets of men take only 
eight hours off, the third set getting thirty-two hours off. 
This obviates the necessity of any turn for shift-men of longer 

than eight hours. 

The company's quarry is operated on two ten-hour shifts. 
The primary crushing runs the same hours as the quarry. 
All processes beyond the primary crushing— down to the 
packing—are on continuous-operation. While there is some 
thought among the management that the day men might be 
more efficient on a nine-hour than a ten-hour day, they do 
not see how, with their machinery, they could get the neces- 
sary work done in nine hours ; they are committed, therefore, 
to the ten-hour day for day-workers. 








The lime industry is in some respects analogous to the 
cement industry. However, it does not have the extensive 
continuous grinding operations which in cement manufac- 
ture precede and follow the burning, and hence the propor- 
tion of continuous-operation is smaller in lime than in 
cement. In the plants personally investigated about 15 per 
cent, of the men were on shift-work. 

In most parts of the country the lime industry is on a 
two-shift basis. This is particularly true of the East and 

Experience of One Compa/ny with Three Shifts. 

The only lime plants in the eastern part of the country, 
not on two shifts, of which knowledge could be obtained, are 
the two plants of the Charles Warner Company near Phila- 
delphia. The change to three shifts was put into effect by 
Mr. Irving Warner, the general plant manager. For three 
years Mr. Warner had endeavored to get the men to accept 
three shifts, on the basis of some rearrangement of the work 
which would make it possible for the company to compete 
with plants which were on a two-shift basis, but the men 
were unwilling to undertake more work. The men became 
interested, however, in getting Sunday off and came forward 
with a proposition to run the plant six days a week. Mr. 




f \ 




Warner, not thinking that would work out satisfactorily, sug- 
gested that, before pressing that request, they give a trial to 
his own scheme for working eight-hour shifts. 

The foremen and men were opposed to three shifts and 
were reluctant to make a trial, preferring to work easily for 
twelve hours rather than hard for eight hours. It developed, 
however, that most of the men working on one battery wished 
to work eight hours, while those on the other battery wished 
to remain on twelve. The men on the one battery were told 
to appoint a committee. The manager drew up a new 
manning scale, so designed that the same number of men 
who had operated the battery on two shifts could assume the 
responsibility for three shifts. He presented the schedule to 
the committee, who made one small change. It was arranged 
that the three-shift plan should go into effect on the one 
battery on Sunday. When the manager came round on Sun- 
day he found both batteries running on three shifts. They 
have been running three shifts ever since. 

The arrangement of continuous work in a lime kiln so 
that each man can do 50 per cent, more work is often difficult, 
for the reason that the number of men is small, and the layout 
is such that there is no simple way of giving a man 50 per 
cent, more work. In the two plants of the Charles Warner 
Company there were three different situations, each offering 
its own problem in the way of a reallocation of the work 
which would give the necessary increase in responsibility. 
The manner in which the problem was solved shows how a 
management can find satisfactory ways of changing to three- 
shift operation. 

Methods and Results. 

The Charles Warner Company has two lime plants, a 
large one at Cedar Hollow with two main kiln groups, and 
the McCoy plant, which is much smaller. Table 4 shows 




the manning scale on two shifts and on three shifts so far 
as concerns the continuous work on the "small kiln" group 
at the Cedar Hollow Plant. The seven small kilns which 
make up the "small kiln" group have two furnaces each. 


Showing How Nine Men Working Eight-Hour Shifts Did Work of 
Ten Men Working Twelve-Hour Shifts, Small Lime Kilns, 
Cedar Hollow Plant, Charles Warner Company 

Two-shift system 


{assisted hy , 
firemen on 
No. 6) 

•KUn 1 
Fireman < 

.Kihi 2 

Kiln 3 

iKiln 4 

Fireman JKiln 5 

Three-shift system 

Kiln 1 

Fireman - 

Drawman I 

Fireman ' 


Kiln 6 
I KUn 7 


Kihi 2 
Kihi 3 
ilCiln 4 
Kihi 5 
Kiln 6 
Kihi 7 

Number men each shift 5 Number men each shift 3 

Total two shifts 10 Total three shifts 9 

Under the old system, each fireman had two kilns (or 
four furnaces, altogether). Under the three-shift system he 
was assigned three-and-one-half kilns (or seven furnaces alto- 
gether). The drawman dispensed with the aid he had for- 
merly received from one of the firemen, thus making it 
possible for each of the firemen to handle a full quota of 


This plan was not hard to arrange. A more complex 
situation arose when it came to putting the other kiln group 
at the large plant on three shifts. This included a large 
producer gas kiln, three or four times the capacity of an 





ordinary kiln, and some double and single kilns.* Table 6 
shows how this second problem was solved. 





Showing How Twelve Men Working Eight-Hour Shifts Did Work 
OF Twelve Men Working Twelve-Hour Shifts (With Sught 
Amount of Help from Outside), Large Lime Kilns, Cedar 
Hollow Plant, Charles Wabner Company 

Two-shift system 

Three-shift system 






by fireman 
an No. 10) 
Fireman t 
{also J 

heljier j Kiln 
onNo.ei) I 
_, f Double 

^«°^ \Kihi 12 



rKihi 13 
iKihi 14 

Kiki 16 

{assists in fir- 
ing Kiln No. 
SI. I sin turn 
assisted in 
drawing by 
lime hoist- 



Kiki 16 

by draw- 




Fireman i 

IKihi 10 


Kiln 12 

Kihi 13 

Kihi 14 

Kihi 15 

Kihi 16 

Number men each shift 6 Number men each shift 4 

Total two shifts 12 Total three shifts 12 

(with a Uttle help from lime 


It will be observed that the standard task was increased 
from two single kilns (or four furnaces) on the twelve-hour 

> It is to be noted that a double kiln requires twice the labor of a 
single kiln. Theoretically the large producer gas kiln, No. 21, has the 
status of a double kiln; but it has been the usual practice under both 
the two-shift and the three-shift system to allow extra help on this kiln, 
so as to keep it in rapid and efficient operation. Hence in the diagram, 
No 21 is represented as though it were the equivalent of three kilns (so 
far* as concerns the allocation of labor). This is only approximately 




shift to three single kilns (or six furnaces) on the eight-hour 
shift. The division of responsibilities under the new plan 
did not come out quite even, and it will be noted that a 
little help was given the drawman bj a man outside the 
group, the lime hoistman.' 

The Cedar Hollow plant also has a rotary kiln. This 
was originally on two twelve-hour shifts, the manning of 
each shift consisting of one man who took care of the pro- 
ducer and firing end of the kiln, and a second who took care 
of the machinery, including the subsequent lime grinding. 
However, it was also necessary, as the kiln was fired by pro- 
ducer gas, to bring round a gang of men daily to clean these 
producers. This made a considerable delay. Later the 
rotary kiln was put on three eight-hour shifts, but the regular 
force were allowed an hour^s extra pay for cleaning the two 
producers ;' which they did, one producer during each of two 
periods of overlap, which occurred between shifts. As there 
were four good men present during each period of cleaning, 
the men could make a very quick job of it. More recently, 
the conditions on the rotary kiln have all been changed, due to 
the installation of other equipment, but the above was the 
manner in which the problem was solved at the time. 

The situation at the McCoy plant was the most difficult to 
adjust. Here were two double kilns fired by one man each, the 
firemen drawing the kilns for one another; but in the summer 

'The position of lime hoistman also constitutes a continuous occu- 
pation, one man serving both batteries of kilns. It, too, was changed 
from two twelve-hour to three eight-hour shifts, thereby entailing the 
cost of one extra man. But the lime hoistmen, under the new arrange- 
ment, were able to give sufficient help to the drawmen on the large kilns 
to avoid the necessity of any increase in manning on the large kilns and 
the increase by one in their own number was exactly balanced by the 
saving of one man which occurred on the small kilns. Thus taking the 
large kilns, the small kilni, and the lime hoistmen together, the change 
to eight hours was made without increase in personnel, there being 
twenty-four men employed both before and after the change was put 
into effect. 

•That is, the men were allowed nine hours' pay for eight houri' 
work plus the cleaning of the producers. 






an extra man was employed. Taking the year as a whole, 
therefore, the average number of firemen per shift was two- 
and-one-half — two in the winter, and three in summer. Since 
these were large kilns, and the only ones in the plant, so 
that no one else could be drawn on for help, the number of 
firemen was left at two, (winter and summer). Thus under 
the three-shift system it took six firemen, where under the 
two-shift system the average for the year had been ^ve. This 
increase in the average number of firemen required was com- 
pensated for by an arrangement by which the men worked 
nine hours instead of eight, so that two men might work 
together at poking the lime during the period of overlap. 
This meant that the kilns were kept open only half as long, 
and the saving in the loss of heat, due to the greater speed 
with which the work was done, was important enough to 
make up for the increase in labor cost. 

Because of the drastic cutting of manning scales the com- 
pany was able to pay the men as much for eight hours as 
they had formerly received for twelve. To be precise, the 
pay was four cents a day more. If a man is called on to 
work beyond the eight hours, it is at the old twelve-hour 
rate, two-thirds of the new rate, the opposite of the method 
of paying for overtime usually employed. But overtime 
work rarely occurs. One of the interesting features of the 
experience of this company with the three-shift system was 
the fact that after the new schedule had been established 
calling as it did for 50 per cent, more work per hour (but 
one-third fewer hours), it became popular with everyone. 

It is held by this company that one of the reasons why 
it is more important now than in former years to have a 
short shift in the lime industry is the fact that lime manu- 
facture has become less intermittent. The development of 
the hydrated lime process and the building of more adequate 
storage capacity has reduced materially the number of days 




of idle time through the year. Formerly the men would 
often get off because of protracted wet weather and on Sun- 
days, when business frequently was lighter. This has been 
changed, because of the present methods of hydrating surplus 

Other Companies. 

It was learned through correspondence that a lime plant 
in Virginia had tried three shifts with firemen for a period 
of two years and then gone back to two shifts. The president 
stated that on going to three shifts the plant efficiency fell 
off about 20 per cent., and that on going back to two shifts 
they regained 25 per cent. The nature of this loss in effi- 
ciency was not brought out in the correspondence. The head 
of the company stated that the plant was small, that their 
information was not in statistical form, and that he did not 
think their experience important enough to warrant its study. 

In the Chattanooga district the two-shift twelve-hour 
system has been, so far as known, the exclusive practice for 
half a century at least. 

In the middle-west district (centering in Illinois) the 
three-shift system in lime burning has not been uncommon. 
According to a letter received from the secretary of the 
Central Bureau of the National Lime Association, of twelve 
member plants, four were employing the three-shift system, 
seven the two-shift system, and one had tried the three-shift 
plan and changed back to two. However, it seems that in 
this district the two-shift plan is so operated as not to involve 
more than ten hours of work by the men. 

"At the end of one shift the fires will carry over fairly 
well, while at the end of the other there is always someone 
around to replenish them between shifts. Another difficulty 
that enters is that most kilns do better when drawn four 
times in twenty-four hours. This means under the three- 





shift plan that one man must draw a kiln twice while the 
other two draw but once and this leads to difficulties." 


As already noted, in the manufacture of brick and tile 
(as well as of pottery and other clay products), the main labor 
is in the shaping and movement of the product, operations 
which are performed in the daytime only. In typical brick- 
making plants it has been found that the continuous-opera- 
tions require about 11 per cent, of the total employees. Much 
depends on the type of brick and the plant. In some plants 
the proportion of shift-workers is less than 11 per cent. 
This is true especially of plants using gas instead of coal 
as fuel. Considering that there may be only fifty or eighty 
employees in a fairly good sized brick plant, the few men 
employed on shift-work may seem to be almost negligible. 
When it is considered, however, that there are in the United 
States more than 100,000 men employed in the brick indus- 
tries,* it is seen that these groups of ^ve or ten men added 
together would, on the 11 per cent, basis, amount to 11,000 
persons. Even if the average proportion of shift men be 
somewhat less than 11 per cent., their numbers would stili 
be well in the thousands. 

A Twelve-Hour Schedule U^ual 

In actual practice little brick burning is on less than a 
twelve-hour shift schedule. In or near some of the largest 
cities of the East the hours exceed twelve. In the Hudson 
River district common brick plants, burners and their assist- 
ants work eighteen hours out of each twenty-four, the assist- 
ant taking charge during the six hours while the burner is 

* Census of 1914. In the year 1919 the number of wage earner! 
reported was only 77,000. 



away. This system of eighteen hours on, six hours off, is 
continued for about five days and five nights until the kiln 
is finished. 

In the common brick plants of Philadelphia the former 
arrangement was for burners and assistants to work thirty- 
six hours at a stretch, then take twelve hours off, and come 
on again for another thirty-six hours. Later this system was 
changed to the present practice under which the burner works 
twenty-four hours on and twenty-four hours off, while the 
assistants still work thirty-six hours on and twelve hours off. 
The management of a Philadelphia plant investigated 
claimed that the men wanted the above arrangement. Objec- 
tion was made when the burners' hours were shortened from 
thirty-six to twenty-four. The helpers, under the present 
arrangement, get three days' pay every forty-eight hours. 

The total force of burners at this plant (which burns one 
kiln at a time) consists of two burners and three helpers. 
Under the twenty-four-hour system for burners, and the 
thirty-six-hour system for helpers, one burner and two 
helpers are on duty at all times. The burners do little of 
the actual firing, which is mainly done by the two burners' 
helpers, working one on each side of the kiln. The firing 
takes about fifteen minutes, and then the men have about 
thirty minutes to rest before firing for another fifteen 
minutes. The burning of a kiln is completed in slightly 
less than ninety-six hours. The engineers at this plant were 
also on twelve-hour shifts. 

Thus taking the plant as a whole, out of a total force of 
about seventy-five employees, there were on long shifts two 
burners, three burner's helpers, and two engineers. Had the 
assistant burners been on twelve- or twenty-four-hour, instead 
of thirty-six-hour, shifts, there would have been four instead 
of three helpers, which would have brought the proportion 
of workers on twelve hours (or the equivalent) to 10^/^ per 







cent. Of the other employees in the plant, those on the brick 
machines worked about eight hours per day, kiln builders 
worked piece-work, and common labor day-work for ten 


Outsido of New York and Philadelphia, these systems 
of eighteen-hour, twenty-four-hour and thirty-six-hour shifts, 
which are in those cities regarded as the natural practices in 
brick-making, were not found by the investigator. The 
twelve-hour shift is the general rule. The kiln fireman fol- 
lows a twelve-hour schedule for the greater part of a week 
until the kiln is done. Then he may immediately fire an- 
other kiln or have a waiting period, during which he works 
on a day-work basis for ten hours. There are a number of 
plants in various parts of the country where the work is so 
arranged that the fireman or burner may get off at the end 
of about eleven hours. 

The investigation disclosed no three-shift brick plant in 
the parts of Pennsylvania visited, though the inquiry, of 
course, could not be exhaustive. The industry in the South, 
also, is on two shifts, except in Texas, where it is reported 
that there are some three-shift operations. 

The investigation showed no three-shift brick plant in 
Ohio. It was reported that a paving brick company at Can- 
ton had tried three-shift operations. But on investigation it 
developed that the management had been trying for fifteen 
years to get the men to adopt three shifts, but the men would 
not accept a basis which the company regarded as commer- 
cially feasible. The management believed that men working 
eight hours should forego the differential which as twelve- 
hour men they had previously enjoyed over the regular ten- 
hour men. The company was ready to give ten hours' pay 
for eight hours' work, but was unwilling to pay the eight- 
hour men more than was received by the mass of employees 
whose day was ten hours. 



An Experiment in West Virginia. 

The investigation revealed that three-shift operation had 
been given a trial in the plants of a large brick company 
located in West Virginia. About 1914 the company made 
a first move towards three shifts by putting its head burners 
on that basis. After a while the management believed that 
the division of responsibility among three instead of two 
men was unsatisfactory, so it put the head burners back on 
two shifts and tried their helpers on three shifts. This 
method worked satisfactorily and the plan was followed for 
several years. 

The number of kilns fired varies from time to time. 
When eight kilns were in operation no more helpers were 
required to handle three shifts than two. When firing eight 
kilns on two shifts, the company employed two head burners 
(one on each shift) and six helpers (three on each shift), 
making eight men altogether. When operating eight kilns 
on three shifts, the company used two head burners (twelve- 
hour shifts) and six helpers (two on each shift), still making 
eight men. But it was only infrequently that eight kilns was 
the number in operation. When the number was seven, the 
company employed only two helpers on each of the two shifts, 
and required two also on each of the three shifts. Under 
these circumstances it took 50 per cent, more helpers on 
three shifts. This did not necessarily mean extra cost, for 
the men were paid only for the time they worked. Wage- 
rates were advanced at the time of putting the helpers on 
three shifts, but this would probably have occurred had 
there been no change in the shift system. While on the 
whole the results of this company's putting its helpers on 
three shifts were neutral, or, at the best, slightly beneficial, 
the management did not regard the trial as a fair test of the 
value of three shifts. Conditions were extraordinarily bad 




n i 


I? ' 




for getting labor efficiency at the time, and the management 
thought it might have been able to accomplish more in the 
way of improvement, had the trial of three shifts been under 
other conditions. 

Owing to a labor shortage the company put its helpers 
back on twelve-hour shifts in 1917. The helpers, who were 
foreign and of the older un-American type, welcomed the 
return to the longer hours with their greater pay. As long 
as they employ this type of labor the management believes 
that two shifts will be more satisfactory to the men and 
mean smoother running for the plant. 

It is of interest to note that the opposite attitude towards 
hours was taken by the American-born, or Americanized day- 
workers in the company's shops. The men who make the 
brick are firm for an eight-hour day, even as opposed to a 
nine-hour day. The company had been operating its shops 
nine hours. An eight-hour day was established in an in^ 
dustry across the river. To meet this, the management pro- 
posed to the men that, instead of cutting hours, the men 
take more pay. The men refused and asked for the cut in 
hours with the same pay. Later when the question of re- 
ducing wages arose, the management again went to the men 
and suggested that, instead of taking a cut in wages, the 
men work nine hours for the same money previously received 
for eight hours. Again the men refused, preferring to take 
the cut. This same attitude towards hours was taken by 
the men in the boiler room. The boiler firemen are still on 
three shifts. 

Experiences in the Wed, 

A firebrick plant in Minneapolis tried three eight-hour 
shifts with the bur^iers for a few months. The division of 
responsibility among three men was unsatisfactory. 

Detailed information has been secured concerning a 



Seattle, Washington, brick company which a number of years 
ago put at least one, and possibly other, of its six plants on 
three shifts. The work periods were nine rather than eight 
hours long, so as to provide double gangs three times a day 
when the fires were cleaned. This doubling up at the time of 
the hardest work made it possible to cut down the number of 
men on a shift so that only a slight increase in personnel 
was required. Thus twelve kiln firemen working on three 
overlapping shifts of nine hours each (four on a shift) were 
able to do the same firing that twelve men working on two 
shifts of twelve hours each (six on a shift) had done. The 
only increase in personnel was in the case of the burner, 
it being necessary to have three burners where before there 
were two. Thus the total force of burners and firemen on 
two twelve-hour shifts was fourteen, and on three nine-hour 
shifts, fifteen. 

Three-Shift in Illinois — A Face Brick Plant 

It is chiefly in Illinois, however, that the three-shift 
system in burning brick has been given wide application. 

The W-Company's plant is said to be the largest face 
brick plant in steady operation in the United States. It has 
sixty-three kilns, of which twenty-five to thirty are on 
fire at one time: perhaps two-thirds of these are "hot." 
Until about 1915 this plant had been operated on two shifts. 
Its employees are organized, and for several years had been 
asking for a three-shift day. About 1915 the company agreed 
to go on three-shift operation. Simultaneously a piece-rate 
system was introduced by which the men were paid so much 
per "kiln day." 

Prior to changing from two to three shifts, the maximum 
work assigned to one man was one hot kiln, plus one kiln 
requiring firing once in sixty minutes. At the present time, 
on eight-hour shifts, the minimum for a man is two and one- 

■ I 



1 1 


half kilns, all kilns taking the same classification. The 
actual quotas run from two and one-half to five kilns. The 
management believes that five kilns are too many for one 
tender. The tendency of the men is to fire more kilns than 
they should, rather than fewer. 

Under the present arrangement, the men fire once every 
half hour. It takes about five minutes for each kiln (firing 
half of the ten fire boxes), or fifteen minutes to fire a quota 
of three kilns. This gives a man about fifteen minutes every 
half hour to rest. The alternation of firing and resting is 
broken only when fires are cleaned. This requires about two 
hours on each shift. The management would not favor a 
doubling up at the time of cleaning fires, as it prefers to 
have each man clean his ovni fires. 

The men who, prior to 1915 on the two-shift system, 
earned about two dollars a day, were in October, 1921, eam- 
five, six, or even eight dollars a day. According to the man- 
agement there is no question but that the men prefer the 
three-shift system. From the above figures it appears that 
the wage cost per hot kiln to the company was in 1921 no 
higher than it had been under the old system prior to the 

The management finds that the men pay better attention 
to their work and but little difficulty is experienced in secur- 
ing the desired quality of product. More inspection is re- 
quired, however. The foremen, who are also on three shifts, 
are more alert, and instruments provide means of quality 
control. When the company first went to three shifts only 
the kiln firemen were changed, leaving the foremen on two 
shifts, but the foremen asked to go on three shifts. At that 
time there was a worker known as gauger, who worked only 
in the daytime. The foremen suggested that his job be 
eliminated and that they take care of his work themselves. 
This was done. 



It should be observed that the W — Company operates with 
unusual steadiness through the year. The firemen work from 
three hundred and twenty-five to three hundred and thirty 
days a year. Out of a total of some three hundred and fifty 
employees, some thirty-nine are on eight-hour shifts. These 
include twenty-six kiln firemen, three foremen, seven boiler 
room firemen (three on one shift and two on each of the 
others), and three engineers. The watchmen are on twelve- 
hour shifts. The men who make the brick have a maximum 
day of eight-and-a-half hours, but they get through in less 
than eight hours. 

In Indiana are several brick companies working eight- 
hour shifts. In general the results in these plants are similar 
to those in the plant just described. That is, the men do 
as much in eight hours as they formerly did in twelve. 

Illinois — A Paving Brick Plant. 

The plant of the Purington Paving Brick Company at 
Galesburg, Illinois, is one of the largest paving brick plants 
in the world. This company operates its plants on the "open 
shop" basis. Its experience with eight-hour shifts is sum- 
marized in a letter received in November, 1921, from the 
president of the company. 

"Fifteen or twenty years ago we ran our paving brick 
plant ten hours. By slightly speeding up the brick machines 
we found we could make all we could take care of in nine 
hours. About eight years ago we decided that by speeding 
up our machines more, we could manufacture all the brick 
in eight hours that we could dry and burn. We therefore 
put the entire plant on an eight-hour basis, with the exception 
of the burners, who were working twelve hours, — really about 
eleven hours rather than twelve as they left about one hour 
before their time was up and depended upon the next shift to 
carry the work on. 

I ^ 



*'Af ter running our plant about one year on an eight-hour 
basis, we had a great deal of dissatisfaction from the burners, 
who were complaining that thej had to work twelve hours' 
while the rest of the plant worked eight hours. Again we 
found the eight-hour day was in effect all over the country, 
and we decided to make the change ourselves before it was 
forced on us by our burners. We have worked it long enough 
to decide that it is much better to work them eight hours. 
While the cost is higher, still we get enough better burns to 
pay for the extra cost. During the hot summer months it is 
quite difficult to keep burners, and at the present time it 
would be almost impossible to get the burners to work eleven 
or twelve hours. ... Our records will show that we are 
more successful in running the plant on an eight-hour basis 
than a nine- or ten-hour basis. The burner foremen still 
work twelve hours." 

There are also three-shift brick plants in central lUinois. 
One of these is on nine-hour shifts, the three overlapping 
hours coming in the morning when there is extra work for 
the men to do. 

A Question of Technical Progress. 

^ ^ The question of three-shift operation in the brick industry 
18 intimately related to the technical progress of the industry. 
Until recently this industry has been most conservative in 
the matter of technical development. Small plants have been 
operated on traditional lines without very much improvement 
m technique and with an enormous waste of fuel. Recently 
advanced designs of kilns and more careful records and 
methods have been introduced. The continuous kiln, made 
up of a series of connected chambers, conserves a part' of the 
heat which would otherwise be wasted. The tunnel kiln in 
which the burning is continuous, has the possibility of making ] 



brick-making as well as brick-burning a continuous operation. 
With higher technical standards the industry will be com- 
pelled to secure a higher grade of labor. 


Under this heading will be considered not only pottery 
but the various clay products, more expensive than brick and 
tile, whose process of manufacture and burning presents sub- 
stantially the same problem in respect to labor shifts. The 
manufacture of china, sanitary ware, architectural terra 
cotta, abrasive wheels, and small ceramic products is similar 
in that, supplementary to an elaborate shaping and manufac- 
turing process carried on by day, there is a small amount of 
continuous operation in burning. The proportion of em- 
ployees in these continuous operations is usually about 3 per 
cent. But it varies all the way from 1 per cent, in some 
plants and products to percentages in others equal to the 11 
per cent, of the brick industry. 

In the pottery and allied industries two-shift operation 
has been the rule. This is the practice followed by the pot- 
teries at East Liverpool, Ohio, the leading pottery center in 
the United States. From the viewpoint of the pottery in- 
dustry the matter seems of little importance. In the summer 
the potteries use gas very largely, and almost no one is on duty 
at night, except one man, who is a sort of watchman and who 
controls the gas. Likewise few men are required when oil 
is the fuel. In the case of kilns using coal, a practice which 
is much extended during the winter, the number of kiln 
firemen is larger. 

In East Liverpool potteries the engineers usually work 
daytime only, the hours being ten or eleven, and in a few 
cases twelve. However, in the case of a plant where the 
twelve-hour employees were actually counted there were em- 







ployed on twelve hours eight firemen (and in winter eight 
coal passers), four watchmen and eight engineers, making 
a total of twenty twelve-hour men in summer and twenty-eight 
in winter out of a total of seven hundred or eight hundred 
employees—that is, between 2 and 4 per cent. 

Labor has been less interested in three shifts in the 
pottery industry than in others. The pottery industry is 
one of the most thoroughly organized in the country. AU 
wage-rates and working conditions are established hj col- 
lective bargaining, the agreements including the burners. 
Apparently the rules do not prescribe twelve-hour work, but 
they imply it in the nine-hour clause: "Nine hours shall 
constitute a day for all day wage-workers excepting engineers, 
engineers' helpers, kiln firemen, watchmen, oddmen and 
such others as must from necessity work longer hours." 
According to the employers no complaints are made by the 
men or the unions regarding the twelve-hour work. 

Some managements in the pottery industry are consider- 
ing the question of two- and three-shift operation. The gen- 
eral manager of a large New Jersey company manufacturing 
sanitary ware writes : 

"In this plant it has been our custom up to this year to 
employ twelve-hour shifts. At the present time, however, 
we are employing eight-hour shifts on the kilns due to re^ 
duced operations. It is my personal opinion that twelve- 
hour shifts ought not to be employed where they can be 
avoided, although eight-hour shifts are possibly not quite 
so satisfactory as the twelve-hour shift so far as operating 
conditions are concerned. Our greatest difficulty, however, 
has been that the men are dissatisfied when allowed to work 
only eight hours. This is a situation with which we have 
considerable difficulty in meeting. From the standpoint of 
operations I believe that a twelve-hour shift is better than 
the eight-hour shift as applied to kiln firemen, but from the 



human standpoint I do not believe that any man should work 
twelve hours out of twenty-four." 

Most terra cotta companies are on two shifts for the burn- 
ing operation. But the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company 
of Chicago is on three shifts. This applies to the kiln fire- 
men, boiler firemen, and engineers who together number 
about ten or twelve out of a total of three hundred and 
seventy-two or about 3 per cent. The change to three shifts 
was made about three years ago. According to the super- 
intendent, the company gets higher efficiency. The quality 
of the burning of terra cotta depends a good deal on the 
attention given. The eight-hour shift avoids the necessity 
for an eighteen-hour turn when shifts rotate. This company 
has not found it a disadvantage to have three men employed 
on the burning. The management find that proper super- 
vision can overcome any difficulty. 











Peculiarities and Difficulties. 

It is difficult to classify the chemical industries and those 
other industries which, though not ordinarily regarded as 
chemical, are based on chemical processes. Under the head 
of "heavy chemicals" are grouped acids, soda, or other chem- 
ical products, produced usually on a large scale and manu- 
factured not so much for themselves as because they are 
employed as chemical reagents in other industries. Falling 
within the class of "chemical industries" are various manu- 
factures whose processes are chemical but whose products 
are usually more or less finished articles of commerce. The 
term chemical industry also applies, in some sense, to the 
large industries considered in Chapter X. 

The chemical industries in general form the group in 
which it is most difficult to change to three-shift operation 
with noticeable increase in efficiency. Where the processes 
consist in distillations, in the movement of fluids through 
pipes, in reactions which take place in retorts; when the 
work is turning valves, waiting for vats to fill, or watching 
gauges, it is neither easy to hasten processes, nor safe to 
reduce the number of men. Losses due to overflows, uneven 
feeds, carelessly regulated temperatures, and mistakes and 
accidents due to inefficient labor may cause large losses in a 
chemical plant. But it is harder to measure gains in efficiency 
me to their elimination and not easy to guarantee that they 
will not occur again.. This situation may account for the 


Statement which is often made that the eight-hour shift has 
brought no reduction in manning or increase in efficiency in 
the chemical industry. The statement applies particularly 
to plants which changed to three shifts during the War. 

On the other hand, there have been some well substan- 
tiated and interesting illustrations of successful methods of 
changing to three shifts, both in the applied chemical in- 
dustries and in the making of chemicals themselves. 


In the production of heavy chemicals there is a small 
amount of two-shift operation. In parts of the South, for 
instance at Birmingham, chemical companies both in the 
heavy or more general lines and in specialized lines are on 
twelve-hour shifts. In the North, and through the country 
generally are small plants which operate on two shifts. This 
last statement applies also to large companies which have 
chains of small plants. These companies often have no gen- 
eral labor policy but allow their local managers to follow 
local customs, which means in some instances two-shift 
operation. Even in the case of large plants located in the 
North, there are some which have certain individuals among 
their employees on twelve-hour shifts, but these companies, 
as well as many of the companies having chains of plants, 
are often in other than the purely "heavy chemical" lines. 
Notwithstanding the exceptions noted, the generalization 
may be made that the large producers of "heavy chemicals" 
are on three-shift operation. In the districts where the heavy 
chemical industry is concentrated the change from a general 
practice of two-shift operation started some twenty or more 
years ago, began to proceed more rapidly some ten years ago^ 
and during the last five or six years has taken place with such 
rapidity and completeness that today three-shift operation is 

1 't- . 


decidedly the predominating system. But widespread though 
the change has been, it is difficult to determine what has been 
the effect on efficiency and cost of the introduction of the 
three-shift system. In the case of a number of the more 
important companies, the evidence is not clear as the change 
was made many years ago. What these companies have been 
most concerned with in recent years have been changes, not 
from twelve to eight hours, but from nine to eight hours, or 
from a seven-day to a six-day week. In the case of other 
companies the results have been influenced by the fact that 
the adjustment was made under war conditions. But even 
where these factors have not been prominent the conclusions 
with regard to heavy chemical plants have usually been more 
a matter of opinion and report than of measured fact. 

In most cases the managers of heavy chemical plants ex- 
press doubt as to any marked improvement in efficiency under 
three-shift operation. Most of the managers have held that 
three shifts could bring no increase in output. At the eame 
time there is a considerable body of opinion to the effect that 
fewer accidents in proccesses, less loss and inferior work, 
ought to prevail where the men are on an eight-hour instead 
of a twelve-hour shift. 

This prevalent uncertainty regarding the effects on pro- 
duction of three shifts does not mean, however, that the 
makers of heavy chemicals feel regret at having gone to three 
shifts or aie contemplating returning to the older system. 
With a few exceptions the companies seem to be content with 
the three-shift system. As a matter of fact, the labor cost 
of an extra shift is not large in a chemical plant. The pro- 
portion of shift-workers in the chemical industry is less than 
in many of the other continuous-industries. In most cases 
the proportion of shift men would not be more than about 
20 per cent, of the total. From that number it would vary 
downward to a minimum as low as 4 per cent. 


Experience of a Tennessee CompamA/, 

The most definite information obtained for any of the 
heavy chemical plants was that furnished by the Tennessee 
Copper Company, which put its sulphuric acid plant on 
three shifts in February, 1919. In this case, where figures 
as well as opinions are given, the showing of three-shift 
operation is much better than the statements commonly made 
by managers of chemical plants indicate. According to the 
management of this company, the number of men required 
to man a sulphuric acid plant is not unalterable, nor is the 
output of acid something that is absolutely fixed, independ- 
ent of the character of operation. In a preceding section it 
was noted how this company was able by building a bridge 
between two acid towers to have one man do work which 
had previously required two. It was in part because of 
numerous savings in manning of this sort, and also because 
of better control in acid production, leading to larger output, 
that the pre-war, two-shift system standard of production, 
which in 1913 was .372 tons of acid per man per day, had by 
1921, under the three-shift system, risen to .878 tons per man 
per day. The figures quoted include employees in mining and 
smelting (for all of whom hours had been shortened) as well 
as those in the acid plant ; but the improvement in the acid 
seems to have been greater than the improvement elsewhere. 
It should be noted that during this eight-year period, there 
had been a number of improvements in the plant and process. 
That the striking gains shown were in part due to labor is 
borne out by the fact that in the brief interval which elapsed 
between the spring of 1921 (April, May and June) and De- 
cember of the same year, the operating cost of acid making 
was reduced 43 per cent., wage-rates meanwhile remaining 
unchanged. This reduction in cost occurred two years after 
the first introduction of three shifts. It was accompanied 


and furthered by efforts along lines other than the reduction 
in hours to improve labor relations and efficiency. But the 
management regarded the improvement as in the main merely 
a deferred gain which had been made possible by the shorten- 
ing of hours. The superintendent of the acid plant, a man of 
extended experience in acid making under the three-shift 
system in this company and the two-shift system elsewhere, 
was positive in attributing this last increase in efficiency 
and output to the eight-hour as contrasted with the twelve- 
hour day. 

The experience of the Tennessee Copper Company makes 
clear that the manning and output of a chemical plant are 
far from being fixed quantities even where the equipment is 
unchanged. * 'r 

At one time some of the chemical companies operated 
three nine-hour shifts. One larg6 company, which arranged 
its shifts so that two sets of men were on duty between 1 p. m. 
and 4 p. m., found this plar^ satisfactory. But this company 
and the other chemical companies have since changed to three 
eight-hour shifts. 

In some of the heavy chemical plants, day-workers as well 
as shift-workers are on eight hours; in others the day-work- 
ers are on nine hours. , 




There are several hundred general service fertilizer plants 
in the United States, widely distributed throughout the 
country. The bulk of the work in such a plant consists in 
mixing ingredients, getting fertilizer ready for shipment, 
and doing similar unskilled jobs on a day-work basis. The 
sulphuric acid department is the only one that has shift 
labor and the number of employees in that department is 

very small in any one establishment. A fertilizer plant may 
have from one hundred to two hundred employees — some- 
times more during the busy season — engaged on day-work. 
The largest plant would not have more "than eight or nine 
shift men, and a more common number would be five or six. 
For this number of men continuous work is unavoidable. 

The acid plant employees in fertilizer works are univer- 
sally on twelve-hour shifts, or shifts averaging twelve hours. 
During the War, there were a few odd instances of plants 
changing to three shifts, but the owners of these plants say 
that they have since put the men back on two shifts. While 
it is impossible to be sure that there is no acid plant now 
using the three-shift system, inquiry has failed to disclose 

The problem of going from two to three shifts in a fer- 
tilizer works acid plant differs in two important respects from 
the same problem as applied to a large acid plant. 

1. The smallness of the, fertilizer plant unit makes more 
, difficult the working out of reductions in manning. 

If a plant has only two men by night and two by 
- day, it is hard to cut out one or more of this force. 
The problem is also^ifficult for a plant employing 
^y^ or six men. 

2. The acid made in a fertilizer works does not need to be 

chemically pure. The important thing is quantity 
and cheapness. So the question of quality of 
product hardly enters in as an important reason for 
striving, through shortening hours, for a good, wide- 
awake type of labor. The fertilizer companies 
claim, moreover, that while their day-workers are 
often unskilled and shiftless, their acid plant em- 
ployees are drawn from a steady, settled class of 




That fertilizer acid plants could with profit be put on 
three shifts is, however, the opinion of Mr. G. E. Beavers, 
the acid plant superintendent of the Tennessee Copper Com- 
pany. He bases his view both on experience with three-shift 
operation with his present company and on his earlier experi- 
ence with two-shift operation with a southern fertilizer con- 

In the fertilizer acid plant of which Mr. Beavers was 
formerly superintendent there were altogether 10 employees, 
of which 8 were on shift-work. Each of the two shifts had 
1 chamber man, 1 pump man, 1 nitro man and 1 furnace 
man. The two men who were attached only to the day shift 
were known as acid maker and flunkeyman. If this plant 
had been put on eight-hour in place of twelve-hour shifts, 
Mr. Beavers said that the positions of chamber man and 
pumpman could have been combined, and also those of nitro 
man and furnace man. That would have reduced the number 
of shift employees from 8 on two shifts to 6 on three shifts 
and the total of all employees from 10 to 8^ Similar adjust- 
ments would be possible, he says, in the case of the smaller 
plants which now employ only 5 or 6 employees. 

In Mr. Beavers' opinion not only reductions in manning, 
but other important savings could be effected by changing to 
three shifts. He regards it as a mistake to assume that 
because only low-grade and impure acid is required for' a 
fertilizer plant, it is not important to maintain good chem- 
ical control in the manufacture. For example, sulphur 
should be charged regularly, but in the two-shift plant where 
Mr. Beavers was superintendent, towards five or six o'clock 
in the morning the men would go to sleep, forget to charge, 
and the production of acid would go down. Or the charging 
of sodium nitrate may be neglected, on the one hand, or be 
excessive, on the other, and thus become another source of 



Mr. Beavers says that the younger men who are now 
entering the fertilizer field recognize the importance of at- 
tention to these details, and that with more care they will 
be able to make the plants pay better. But it is hard to 
bring the employees to time on these matters when Ihey are 
working twelve hours. 

In the Fall of 1918 Mr. Beavers endeavored to put the 
fertilizer acid plant of which he was then superintendent on 
three shifts ; but the men could not at that time be induced 
to take it up. A few months later the three-shift sysem was, 
however, introduced with great success in the acid plant of 
which he has since become superintendent. While the latter 
plant is vastly larger, Mr. Beavers holds that the problem, 
and the methods to be pursued, are essentially similar. 


Explosives are made in many small plants to reduce the 
hazard of manufacture, the employees numbering in a few 
instances no more than ten persons. Taking all the plants 
together the manufacture of explosives requires very few 
shift employees. Because of the scattered character of this 
industry the various plants follow local practices. There 
may be a few i&mall plants here and there which are on two 
shifts, but the management of the leading manufacturer of 
explosives reports that all their large plants have their con- 
tinuous-work on three shifts. 


The manufacture of dyes, generally carried on in large, 
costly plants, is notable for the large number of its products, 
involving processes of many types. While few of the proc- 
esses are necessarily continuous, and the main processes may 


[m I 




) 'I 



be shut down at night, it is the general custom to run more 
or less continuously. 

One of the leading dye companies reports that when any 
of its plants operate at night the supervisors are usually on 
two shifts: a day man and a night man, though sometimes 
there might be two night men on three shifts. Ordinarily a 
night supervisor has little work to do. If anything goes wrong 
lie shuts off the pr6cess, or calls someone from the centr^ 
mechanical force to make the necessary repairs. He may 
not even be on hand alL^ight. The power plants of this 
company are on three shifts. Maintenance men are for the 
most part on eight-hour shifts. In general the two-shift work 
is in places where the men do not have to be in the plant 
the full twelve hours, or where the process does not run alto- 
gether continuously, as, for instance, only for sixteen hours. 

Aside from the groups named^ there are some other men 
about the plant who are on full twelve-hour shifts, but they 
are few in number. The company has no definite policy re- 
garding twelve-hour work, but on the whole it is tending away 
from rather than towards twelve hours. 

In another dye plant the conjinuous-operation work, at 
the time of the inquiry, was on eleven-hour and thirteen-hour 
shifts, but the proportion of such work Was small. The plant 
was running slack and there were not more than a score of 
men on the two-shift schedule. 


The chief plants of the company which manufactures 
most of the industrial alcohol are on three shifts. One small 
plant is on two shifts. While some of the products of this 
company are manufactured in batches, the alcohol itself is 
produced by continuous process. Possibly twenty-five per 
cent, of the employees are shift-workers. 





No field study was attempted in the case of wood distilla- 
tion. The industry is carried on in numerous plants, small 
and difficult to reach, employing altogether about 33,000 

The Census of Manufactures distinguishes between "tur- 
pentine and resin" on the one hand which consists in the 
extraction and later the distillation of gum from live trees, 
and which employed in 1919 about 28,000 workers, and 
"wood distillation, not including turpentine and resin" 
(which employed about 5,000 workers). It is explained 
in the census reports, however, that the latter classification 
really includes all destructive distillation of wood, whether 
the product be wood alcohol, as in the hardwood distillation 
of the North, or turpentine and resin, as in the distillation ef 
pine in the South. 

A manufacturer, familiar with the production of turpen- 
tine and resin from gum, states that there is no systematic 
operation of labor shifts. Though conducted on a large scale, 
the industry is carried on much as the farmers boil maple 
syrup in the North, without special reference to the working 
hours, or any other conventions of importance. Almost half 
of the industry is in Florida, and a fourth in Georgia. 

The census figures show, however, that there is a con- 
siderable proportion of twelve-hour work in the smaller in- 
dustry which may properly be spoken of as "wood distilla- 
tion." Something like four-fifths of this industry consists 
of the distillation of hard woods, and is carried on mainly 
in the states of Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. The 
twelve-hour shift evidently exists to some extent in the North, 
though it is impossible to tell from the statistics how common 
the practice may be. Of wood distillation in the South, the 
authority cited above says ; 

^ f 

■ t 


"In the wood turpentine industry, on the other hand, 
while the processes, machinery and products differ very 
widely in the different plants, nearly all are operated on a 
twenty-four-hour basis, though with heavier shifts in the day- 
time. Some plants run on two twelve-hour shifts. We do 
not think there are more than two or three that employ eight- 
hour shifts and in others the shifts are arranged arbitrarily 
to favor the process, usually with some provision to change 
about, so that the men can work on day shifts one week and 
take a night shift the ilext— turn about." 

With three or four exceptions, the wood distillation plants 
in the South do not run steadily, but are carried on in a 
desultory manner, subject to extreme variation in activity. 


No extended study has been attempted of the manufacture 
of starch, glucose and syrups, in what might be called the 
chemical end of the food industries. A company which holds 
a leading position in the refining of corn products operates 
its plants on the three-shift system. Following the close of 
the War, the company planned to lengthen the hours of its 
day-workers from eight to nine or ten, but to keep the em- 
ployees on three eight-hour shifts in the case of continuous 


Soap manufacture is a daytime affair in the majority of 
plants except for a few men engaged in auxiliary processes 
who are often on twelve-hour shifts. Except in an emer- 
gency, indeed, the general sentiment among soap-mj^jers is 
against continuous-operation of their plants. Ordinarily soap 
vats are boiled by day and allowed to settle by night. A 
Camden, New Jersejr, plant manager believes in using two 




twelve-hour shifts for certain of the finishing operations, 
when the market permits the plant to run to sufficient 
capacity. But it is several years since the plant was run on 
that basis and then only for a short time. Another soap com- 
pany of national reputation nms two shifts when business 
demands it. 

Here and there a soap company runs a considerable por- 
tion of its plant continuously, either because it undertakes 
more preliminary treatment of raw materials than is common 
or because it manufactures products other than soap for 
which continuous operation is advisable. Because of the gen- 
erally greater equipment which such a plant has, it tends 
even in those processes which are common to other soap 
companies towards continuous-operation. 


Experience of the Procter & Gamble Gompcmy, 

The conditions which have just been enumerated apply 
with special force to the Procter & Gamble Company which 
has about 25 per cent, of the employees in its Ivory dale plant 
on continuous-operation work. 

Prior to March, 1919, these continuous-operation em- 
ployees were on twelve-hour shifts, or eleven hours by day 
and thirteen hours by night. At that time the company sub- 
stituted three eight-hour shifts, at the same time making an 
effort for greater efficiency. The aim of the superintendent 
and foremen was to obtain as much work in eight hours as 
had previously been done in ten. While it was impossible 
for the management to determine the per cent, of increased 
efficiency it is certain that the gain in- efficiency was con- 
siderable, but that it must be credited in part to the increased 

In the spring of 1921, the company placed its day-work- 
ers on a nine-hour instead of an eight-hour day, giving them 
eight hours' pay for nine hours' work in lieu of a wage re- 

I f 


i ii; 


1 1 



duction. To put the shift men on a parity with the day 
men, the company decided to modify the three-shift system. 
The compromise adopted — in a sense a two-and-a-half shift 
system — is called a five-shift system. 

Under the five-shift system all of the shift-workers are 
given daily turns of nine or ten hours (or according to a 
later modification, eight-and-one-half, ten, or ten-and-one-half 
hours). The number of shift-workers is constant throughout 
the twenty-four hours, and each man reports for duty on the 
same hour each day in the week.* The manner in which this 
result was accomplished may be seen by an examination of 
Table 6 (earlier plan) or Table 7 (later plan). 

The conspicuous feature of both plans is the introduction 
of two interweaving series of shift-workers. At any one 
moment there are always two shifts on duty, as A and B, 
the one, however, always being relieved before the other. 
When a shift-worker reports for duty the second day it is 
not, strictly speaking, to his former position. The second 
day he relieves, not those who have relieved him, but those 
who have relieved his neighbor. Thus under the earlier plan 
Group A, working from 12 midnight to 10 a. m. Monday was 
relieved by Group D, working from 10 a. m. to 8 p. m. and 
then by Group B which worked from 8 p. m. Monday to 6 
A. M, Tuesday. Group A, coming on again Tuesday could 
not relieve Group B, for the hours would not come out even. 
Group E, which Group A relieved, in turn had relieved 
Group C, which in turn had relieved Group B being the 
group which throughout most of Monday worked alongside 
of Group A. 

The Ivorydale plant is practically closed down on Sunday 
(under the later plan, from 7 a. m. Sunday to 7 a. m. Mon- 
day). This means that, under the earlier plan, the working 

* Under the original plan, there was sometimes a slight exception to 
this at the beginning or end of the week. 







I ! 



I I 


weeks of Groups A and D which were scheduled for ten hours 
a day — excepting twelve-hour shifts on Saturday — ^was sixty- 
two hours a week. Group B, which also worked ten hours, 
but was scheduled for only a short turn Sunday night, worked 
fifty-six hours. Groups C and E which were the nine-hour 
groups, worked fifty-four hours. In actual practice, how- 
ever, groups A and D were commonly relieved two hours 
earlier than the schedule shows on Saturday, giving them 
in fact, a sixty-hour week. Group B, on the other hand, 
would most likely come early Sunday night, probably at 8 
p. M. to do odd work about the plant, which would give this 
group also an even sixty-hour week. The shifts ordinarily 
rotated once a week. So under ordinary circumstances, a 
man would work sixty hours three weeks out of five, and 
fifty-four hours the other two weeks. 

Since the investigator^s visit to the plant, the plan illus- 
trated by Table 6 has been displaced by the plan illustrated by 
Table 7. The latter plan eliminates twelve-hour shifts on 
Saturday, besides changing the period of shut down from 
the earlier arrangement of Saturday midnight to Sunday 
midnight, to the present arrangement of 7 a. m.- Sunday to 
7 A. M. Monday. The shifts are now eight-and-one-half hours 
for two groups, ten hours for one group, and ten-and-one-half 
hours for two groups, the ten-hour group getting off three 
hours early on Sunday. This makes the working week fifty- 
one hours for two groups, fifty-seven hours for one group and 
sixty-three hours for two groups, or an average of fifty-seven 
hours. Under the present plan, the men rotate shifts every 
two weeks. 

The five-shift system as thus outlined has two important 
characteristics other than its even succession of nine- and 
ten-hour (or eight-and-one-half, ten, and ten-and-one-half 
hour) shifts. 



1. Never more than half of the men are relieved at any 

one time, obtaining thereby a greater continuity in 

the work. 

2. A man does not continue today the work which he 

did yesterday, but takes up what his neighbor on the 
parallel shift had been doing. This often makes it 
necessary to teach men to serve in two positions. 
It will be observed that no shift begins or ends 
work between 12 midnight and 6 a.m. (Under the 
present plan, no shift begins earlier than 7 a.m.) 

At the end of the first six months of operation under the 
five-shift system, the company expressed satisfaction with the 
plan. The production per hour was as much as under the 
three-shift system. The results were decidedly better than 
under the two twelve-hour shift system. The five-shift ar- 
rangement meant somewhat more effort on the part of the 
management because of having to teach worlmien two dif- 
ferent jobs. 

The company believes that the men are better satisfied 
under the five- than under the two-shift system. As between 
the five-shift and three-shift systems, the adoption of the 
five-shift system was approved by vote of the men. However, 
the company previously made it clear that the plant would 
change to a nine-hour basis, and the vote was on the details 
of the plan rather than on the general policy involved. 


No survey has been made of the glue industry. But a 
Chicago glue company, a subsidiary of one of the packers, 
was found to have 10 per cent, of its men on continuous 
processes, and these were on three shifts. They had been 
changed from two shifts. 

i i 









The manufacture of drugs and fine chemicals in St. Louis 
and Detroit is on three eight-hour shifts. 

The president of a St. Louis chemical company states 
that his concern has about 1,000 employees, of whom one- 
fifth or less are on shifts. When the number of its employees 
was small, this company ran on two twelve-hour shifts, but 
the twelve-hour shift was done away with long ago. Even 
the watchmen are now on three eight-hour shifts. Day-work- 
ers are on nine hours. 

The New Jersey plant of a Prench manufacturer of per- 
fumes has its continuous work on three shifts. 


Investigations show that most of the plants at Niagara 
Falls which use electricity for chemical purposes are on three 

The Carborundum Company has always had all of its 
continuous-operations on three shifts. 

Another company whose men are on hot and heavy con- 
tinuous furnace operation has been on three shifts for more 
than twenty years. The management believes that this 
schedule is the most satisfactory and economical method for 
these operations, and that production efficiency is greater and 
the physical efficiency of the men better maintained. That 
three-shift operation is more satisfactory to the men is indi- 
cated by the fact that though there was formerly a twelve- 
hour plant across the Canadian border where the men could 
earn more money, the company had no difficulty in getting 

Another Niagara Falls plant was on twelve-hour shifts 
for continuous work until the summer of 1919. Then a 



change was made to three shifts. One-third more shift-work- 
ers were required and they now constitute about one-tenth 
of the total force. Under the three-shift system: 

1. The output was unchanged. 

2. The product was better in quality. 

3. Better care was taken of equipment 

4. Waste was reduced. 

The new electro-chemical industry of the South is on 
twelve-hour shifts. At least this was found to be true of 
the important electro-chemical center in Alabama. 










n I 

i 1 





Theee are three branches of the sugar industry, all em- 
ploying continuous processes. 

1. The sugar mills of the South which refine Louisiana 

cane sugar. 

2. The sugar refineries of the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf 

seaboard, which refine imported sugar. 

3. The beet sugar factories of the interior, located 

especiaUy in Michigan and Colorado, which perform 
all the processes from washing the beets to the last 
stages of refining. 

The Louisiana and beet sugar industries are seasonal, 
doing their work in from forty-five to a maximum of ninet^ 
or one hundred days after the harvest. The refining of 
imported raw sugar may be carried on throughout the year. 

Louisiana Cane Sugar, 

So far as could be learned by correspondence, the 
Louisiana mills which refine Louisiana sugar are all on 
twelve-hour shifts. Nearly all of the employees are on shift- 
work. Some plants have worked on six-hour shifts with 
two alternating crews; others are on the straight twelve- 


hour shift ©ne Texas refinery formerly had four sets of 
men, it being the rule for the twelve-hour men to work an 
hour and lay off an hour, but this plant is now on a straight 
two-shift system. The two-shift system seems to be univer- 
sally established in the industry, with no thought of any 
other arrangement. 

Befimng of Imported Sugar, 

The refining of imported raw sugar is continuous- 
process throughout, excepting for the unloading of raw 
sugar, the packing and delivering of the finished product, 
and the work of mechanical upkeep and of the office. Inas- 
much, however, as the departments named, especially those 
charged with the duty of filling many small packages, 
require many employees, the percentage of actual shift- 
workers may be no greater than 50 per cent. 

The majority of the sugar refining companies of the 
United States operate on two shifts, save for certain jobs 
such as that of sugar boiler, which is generally on eight- 
hour shifts. The American Sugar Refining Company, which 
during the War refined between 35 and 40 per cent, of all 
the sugar, operates its plants on three shifts. In addition 
to this there are two or three smaller refineries on the three- 
shift basis. 

More than usual importance attaches to the question as 
to whether a sugar refinery can operate on three shifts 
without increasing cost. The industry in both manufactur- 
ing and retailing, is an example of a tremendous business 
done on a moderate and indeed close margin of profit. Com- 
petition is intense. It would be impossible for one comjl^any 
to assume a manufacturing cost substantially higher than 
others. So it is worth while to give special attention to the 
experience of the American Sugar Refining Company, which 
went to three shifts in the spring of 1918. 

I ' 





j^ fv 


I 'i' 

\ I 

It I . s 





There are two elements in the question of the cost of 
making such a change: 

1. The extra compensation due to increased hourly 


2. Productive eflSciency. 

In the case of the American Sugar Refining Company 
the first of these two elements was so favorable on three-shift 
operation as practically to solve the problem of cost. 

At the time of the change in the spring of 1918 there 
was no demand for a reduction in hours, but general con- 
ditions were such as to make labor difficulties likely at any 
time. It happened that a general increase in wages was 
about due. In view of the general conditions and its long 
desire to change to three shifts, the management seized this 
opportunity to put hours and wages on such a basis as to 
avoid friction. The management reduced the hours from 
twelve to eight and increased the hourly wage rate. The 
men thereby suffered no appreciable loss in weekly earnings. 
The company, on the other hand, was not faced with a wage 
cost greater than it would have been had there been no 
change in hours. 

Shortly after the American Sugar Refinery went from 
twelve to eight hours with an advance in hourly wage-rates, 
the other sugar refineries, with plants on the same water 
fronts, increased their hourly wage-rates in an equal pro- 
portion but remained on twelve hours. Thus their employees 
received 50 per cent, greater weekly earnings, and this con- 
dition has continued down to the present. Nevertheless 
throughout the extreme labor shortage of 1918, as well as 
through all the period that has since elapsed, the three-shift 
plants had no difficulty in keeping up their complement of 
men. Further evidence that the men prefer three shifts 
develops when there is overtime. If overtime work is con- 



tinned very long, there is decided objection on the part of 
the men, notwithstanding the extra pay. 

The change to three shifts also worked out favorably as 
respects the second aspect of the cost question, productive 
efficiency. The company has no exact figures covering the 
subject but it is the judgment of the men in charge both in 
the general office and in the largest of the refineries that the 
efficiency of employees is 15 per cent, higher than it was 
on two-shift operation. The management knows, for in- 
stance, that on jobs where the work has remained substan- 
tially unchanged the men are doing more now than their 
predecessors were doing ten years ago. The figure quoted 
does not have reference to the output of equipment, but that 
has improved. Since having changed to the shorter shift 
periods, there have been outstanding months at each one of 
the refineries, which have shown an increased out^^ut over 
months for many years past. The management says that 
absenteeism and labor turnover have decreased. 

Table 8 illustrates an interesting feature of the three- 
shift system as worked out at the Brooklyn Refinery. It is a 
plan for providing one day's rest in seven (as required by the 
New York State Law) without the introduction of relief 
men (or attempting to secure exemption, as permitted by 
law, by establishing shifts uniformly of eight hours). The 
refinery shuts down for twelve (or thirteen) hours on Sunday, 
which helps somewhat. But the necessity of providing a full 
twenty-four hours of rest, and at the same time rotating 
shifts, presented a complicated problem which, it will be 
seen, was worked out with unique results. The day-workers 
of the American Sugar Refining Company are on a fifty- 
hour week, with a few on sixty hours. On Sunday about 
two hundred men (in the one refinery) work on repairs 
which cannot be done during the week. These men are given 
a week-day off. 

* 1 
















0' I 


Beet Sugar. 

Almost all of the beet sugar plants of the United States 
are on twelve-hour shifts. At a plant investigated all but 
about fifteen of the two hundred and twenty-five employees 
were on shift-work. However, the operating season is not 
longer than ninety days, and during the balance of the year 
the men either work shorter hours at overhauling the plant 
or find work elsewhere. In Michigan the same men come 
back year after j^sli in order to obtain the large earnings for 
twelve-hour work. 

One company having several plants operating from a 
main oflSce at Toledo, Ohio, tried three shifts during the 
season of 1920-21. But when the plants reopened in the 
fall of 1921 it was on a two-shift basis. The management 
said that this was primarily because of hard times in the 
industry, the lower prices of sugar, the poorer beet crop and 
the lower wage-rates. The return to two shifts was not re- 
garded as a matter necessarily of permanent policy, or a 
rejection of the three-shift system. While on three shifts 
the company had not noted any improvement in efficiency. 
It had no difficulty, however, arising from the shortness of 
the season, in getting labor, or in otherwise operating on the 
three-shift system. 

In another locality an important company has had its 
plants operating on three shifts for the last three seasons. In 
November, 1921, the general superintendent of this company 
wrote : 

"Our company adopted the three-shift system October 1, 
1919. This change had been under consideration for some 
time prior to its adoption, but before the end of the war we 
did not think it wise to attempt to draw from other essential 
industries the necessary excess number of men to make the 
three-shift system successful. It was our hope that if the 











































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three-shift system were adopted, more intensive work could 
be expected during the shorter work period resulting in a 
smaller number of men per shift, higher production rate of 
our factories and possibly a better quality of work per- 
formed, all of which circimistances might combine so as to 
result in no increase of labor cost per unit of production. We 
also anticipated a lower rate of replacement of men, par- 
ticularly of key men. 

"For seven years prior to the change we found our num- 
ber of operating men required to be practically constant from 
year to year, and think it represented practically a minimum 
crew under these conditions. While, after the change we had 
to overcome the dis-inclination of labor to work efficiently, 
which required about two years, we feel that we are again 
very near to a minimum basis as to number of men under 
present conditions, and find that we require only 87 per 
cent, of the number of men per shift required for seven years 
before the change. This smaller number of men has in- 
creased capacity over 22 per cent. We feel that the three- 
shift system is only one factor in the increased capacity of 
our plants, but that it is nevertheless one very important 
factor. We also find that a better quality of work is being 
performed since the change, as measured by losses in pro- 
duction and economy in use of materials. Other factors than 
the hours of labor, of course, have a bearing on higher effi- 
ciency. . . . 

"Our management is necessarily gratified over the results 
of the three-shift system and feels a satisfaction in the 
greater contentment of our men under improved working 
conditions. This arrangement, however, places a greater 
burden on those directly in charge of each factory unit in 
that the necessary supervision of three shifts necessitates 
long hours of vigilance on their part. We operate three 
shifts this season. 



"Our operations are seasonal, each campaign lasting 
approximately one hundred days. Being seasonal in charac- 
ter, the addition of one new shift involves supplying the 
necessary number of men, an adequate supply of whom must 
be on hand on a certain date each year. So far, we have had 
no serious difficulty in procuring enough men, but in a period 
when the supply of labor is short, the three-shift system 
might complicate matters for us considerably." 

The general superintendent further explains that the 
raw product, being a vegetable, must on account of freezing 
weather be harvested faster than it can be treated, necessitat- 
ing the placing of the excess in storage. This accentuates 
the necessity of high-speed treatment. And it makes espe- 
cially important the operation of the plants to full capacity, 
which, as the figures already quoted have shown, "can best be 
attained by three shifts of moderately fresh men as against 
two tired shifts, which would be the case where men work 
twelve hours per day for a steady grind of one hundred days." 

While the general superintendent does not know definitely 
what rates would be necessary to secure adequate labor under 
the two-shift system, "We think," he writes, "that our hourly 
rate on labor is now 30 per cent, higher than we would offer 
under a two-shift system and that the monthly rates applying 
to key men are substantially the same under both systems." 
And again, "the majority of our men are very enthusiastic 
over the three-shift plan. ... A change to the two-shift sys- 
tem would undoubtedly cause a great deal of discontent at 
this time." 


The salt industry, small in the number oi men employed, 
varies in the amount of continuous-process work. In some 
plants only certain processes are continuous. In others^ \ 














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practically the entire plant runs continuously except for con- 
struction and repair work and the putting of salt into small 

Until within a few years the three-shift system was prac- 
tically unknown in the salt industry, except for a large 
Akron plant, which changed to three shifts about ten years 
ago. Even today in some sections of the country, the two- 
shift system is the prevailing system. As in the sugar indus- 
try, a large volume of business is done on a small profit. The 
work is largely that of attending processes rather than hard 
manual labor. Managers used to say that one concern could 
not go on three shifts unless all did. 

In New York State, in sections where most of the plants 
are still on two shifts, one company with headquarters at 
Ithaca changed to three shifts about three years ago. It 
reports no gain in the efficiency of the men. War conditions 
made it necessary to shorten hours, and pre-war efficiency had 
not been regained as late as December, 1921. The men pre- 
fer the three shifts, provided the present wages continue. Not- 
withstanding this rather unfavorable report, the manage- 
ment states that if any change is made it will reduce wage- 
rates rather than lengthen hours. There is no desire to go 
back to the two-shift system. 

In Michigan practically all the large salt works are oper- 
ating on three shifts. In the northern section one small plant 
(employing twenty men, six on shifts) was on a two-shift 
basis. In the same city a larger plant was on three shifts. 
Elsewhere in Michigan there are instances of salt works on 
two shifts. In the territory bordering the Saint Clair River 
north of Detroit, all the works apparently are on three shifts. 
One company having works in Michigan, Kansas and Texas, 
has all its plants on three shifts. 

In these large Michigan plants some with as many as 
^\e hundred employees, perhaps one-third to one-half of 



whom are on shift-work, the twelve-hour day is thought to 
be a thing of the past. At one plant it was said that three 
shifts had worked satisfactorily. The management of this 
plant thought at first that they could also get along with as 
few men on eight-hour shifts as on twelve-hour shifts. But 
in the course of a year they found they had almost as many 
men on a shift as they had had before. At another plant it 
was said that while the older men might be no more efficient 
on three shifts, the new men could not be got to work twelve 

The salt producers' association, located at Detroit, stated 
that early in 1921 practically all the salt companies were on 
three shifts. The statement regarding the extent of three- 
shift operation evidently reflected the western situation 
rather than the practice in the East, in parts of which two 
shifts are still employed. Though the three-shift system is 
clearly not universal in the salt industry, and though there 
may have been some tendency towards change both ways, it 
would appear that in a substantial part of the industry the 
three-shift system is permanent. Some of the companies 
state that there have been improvements in production. 


The refining of petroleum is one of the few industries in 
which no examples were found of twelve-hour operations. 
This may not mean that for a certainty there are no two- 
shift petroleum refineries, but the Standard Oil groups are 
solidly on three shifts, the "independents" on the Gulf say 
that they are on three shifts and a very small refinery at 
Pittsburgh, running on three shifts, took it for granted that 
there was no alternative. Every one consulted has been of 
the opinion that the practice is universal. 

At one time there existed in the oil industry a twenty- 




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four hour shift. In order that there might be as little break 
as possible in the supervision, or distillation, two men would 
work twentj-four hours on and twenty-four hours off. 

Shortly before the United States entered the European 
War, the various refineries, which had up to that time been 
on two shifts, changed to three shifts. There is some dispute 
as to which company went first, whether the Standard Oil 
or one of the Gulf "independents." The change was made, 
however, primarily out of deference to general principle, 
because it was conceived that the eight-hour shift was the 
right thing and would be better from the labor standpoint. 
At the time the change was made wage-rates were rising and 
the men were given as much for eight hours as they had pre- 
viously received for twelve hours. While the companies did 
not expect to operate so cheaply as on two shifts, there was 
some expectation that on a shorter day the men would do 
better. But this change was made at the beginning of the 
War, when labor conditions were continually getting worse, so 
that it was not possible to trace much improvement. Some 
noted, however, that whereas under the two-shift system the 
men had been negligent about their work at night, under the 
three-shift system this situation was improved. On the whole 
the companies think that in the long run the men do better 
work with the shorter shift, especially those having direct 
responsibility for the quality of the product. 

With the wage reductions of 1921 there has been some 
tendency to lengthen hours on day-work. At a Philadelphia 
refinery the only request to work twelve hours had come from 
some of the laboratory men, who were engaged on routine 
sample testing. This request was not pressed nor granted. 
In spite of the idea at one time held that a man should be on 
duty twenty-four hours, the refineries have no serious diffi- 
culty arising out of the assignment of three men to the same 
task in twenty-four hours. 


About one-third of the employees in a refinery investi-^f 
gated were on shift-work. 

These general conclusions are based on inquiries in New 
York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Texas, including both 
large and small companies, "independents" and the Standard 
Oil group. 

The production of oil, as distinguished from refining, is 
not in all cases on three shifts. Pipe lines, except in rare 
instances, are on three shifts. The drilling of oil wells is on 
two shifts, except in Texas and possibly California. In 
Texas, oil-well drilling was first on two twelve-hour shifts; 
then on three eight-hour shifts ; then, in a part of the Texas 
field, on two shifts of ten hours each. The pumping of oil 
in the field is day-work. 

The apparent reasons for leaving drilling on twelve-hour 
shifts when all other phases of oil production and refining 
are on a different basis are: 

1. The fact that a considerable part of the work is done 

by contractors who determine with the men their 
own working conditions. 

2. The intensely active spirit which pervades the oil fields 

and which results in rush work and long hours. 

3. The fact that the conditions are so different from those 

of manufacturing that the movement towards eight- 
hour shifts in manufacturing has little influence. 


There are two branches of the cottonseed oil industry: 
The cottonseed crushers scattered throughout the cotton belt 
and the oil refineries located in the North. 

1 ■ 





1 1 










Cottonseed Crushing, 

Crushing is the most important branch of the industry 
from the labor standpoint. There are from seven hundred 
and fifty to eight hundred mills in which cottonseed oil is 

The main processes in a crusher consist in the linting 
and cracking of the seed, shaking out, rolling into fine flakes, 
and cooking the meal, and pressing the resulting "cake" to 
obtain the crude oil. 

The equipment in the industry has been enormously over- 
expanded, so that, though a cottonseed crusher could run the 
year round, and should run for eight months in order to get 
satisfactory costs, the equipment in mills is such that an 
ordinary crop of seed could be crushed in ninety days. The 
mills controlled by large companies often run for eight op 
even nine months. Others run for only thirty to sixty days. 
The proportion of the men on shift-work in this industry 
is unusually large. One company employing about 5,000 
^ men reported that in a plant employing two hundred and 
twenty about one hundred and ninety are on twelve-hour 
shifts. Another leading company states that the proportion 
of shift-workers is near 100 per cent. 

The extreme shortness of the operating season (for the 
majority of plants) is an influence towards two-shift opera- 
tion. Another factor is that most of the labor is colored. 
According to the management of one company operating 
many plants, the colored employees constitute 90 or 95 per 
cent, of the total force. One plant investigated had only five 
^^i white men out of more than one hundred employees. But 
' whether for these or other reasons, there are few if any in- 
dustries so universally on two shifts. So far as could be 
learned no crusher,, unless it might be in Texas, is on three 
shifts. During the last season, which was slack, a few plants 




have tried daytime operation only, but it is thought that this 
would be unsatisfactory as a permanent proposition. 

Even where there are day-workers, they may also be on 
twelve-hour shifts. In a plant employing about one hundred 
men, the cake mill, employing six men, operated daytime 
only. Also on day work were two linter-saw sharpeners, one 
linter-man, one oiler, and one man responsible for local de- 
liveries, eleven besides the irregular force of unloaders. 
Nevertheless every man in the plant, both of the shift and 
day-workers, was, with the exception of the man who made 
local deliveries, on a twelve-hour day. 

It is sometimes said in explanation of the twelve-Hour' 
shift in cottonseed crushers that the work is not hard except 
in the press room, and that the presses, which must be filled 
about once in twelve minutes, may be filled by a good crew 
in considerably less time than that, thus giving a rest period 
before it is necessary to start again with the handling of the 
meal cake. 

In view of the experience of companies in other indus- 
tries with putting colored or seasonal labor on eight-hour 
shifts, it would seem that these factors are not so important 
in keeping cottonseed crushing on two shifts as might at first 
thought appear. The investigator believes that the extent 
of twelve-hour work is more a habit than a condition inherent 
in the industries or the i^e of labor. If that is so, then the 
question of two-shift versus three-shift operation will ulti- 
mately be as much an open question in cottonseed crushing 
as in any other continuous industry. 

Cottonseed Oil Refining. 

The amount of labor required in refining is small, com- 
pared to that needed in crushing, and much of the work is 
done in the daytime. The refining goes on in part, however, 
through the night, and then there are night employees in 











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-the boiler and engine rooms. Of late there has been a ten- 
dency to put these fireroom and engine room employees on 
three shifts. Those who must work in the refining depart- 
ments at night may be on two shifts, but they are few in 

The Procter & Gamble cottonseed oil refining plant oper- 
ates under the five-shift system described in Chapter IX. 
(See page 126.) 


Linseed crushing and refining are carried on in the same 
plants, located chiefly in Minneapolis, Buffalo and near New 
York City. The number of employees in the whole industry 
is small and those on night duty, particularly on refining 
processes, exceedingly small, not more than a few men to 
keep watch over processes. In the West these men are on 
three shifts; in the neighborhood of New York City they 
are on two shifts. The engine room employees are on two 
shifts in all three localities. 

Other vegetable oils are refined, probably more or less 
by continuous processes, by the same general groups of com- 
panies which refine octtonseed and linseed oil. The indus- 
tries, however, are small. 





Of the industries which operate continuously mainly for 
mechanical reasons, paper manufacturing is the most im- 

The total number of wage earners in the "paper and 
wood pulp" industry, according to the Census of Manu- 
factures of 1919, was 114,000. The industry is in the main 
very solidly continuous in operation. Shift-work may begin 
with the cutting of logs into chips. It includes all the de- 
partments actually manufacturing pulp or paper. It may 
or may not extend to special finishing operations performed 
on paper after it comes from the paper machines. In some 
paper mills the only employees not on shift-work are the 
mechanics on repair work. One mill investigated employed 
^ve hundred and fifty-two men, four hundred and sixty on 
shift-work and only ninety-two on day-work. The number 
•n shift-work in two other plants was one hundred and 
twenty-one out of a total of two hundred and seven workers 
in the one case, and four hundred and fifty-five out of a 
total of six hundred and fifty-five in the other. 

In some sections of the paper industry shift-work is less 
general as the management has succeeded in arranging more 
of the work on a nine- or ten-hour basis. This is disclosed by 
a study made in the mills of Massachusetts in the fall of 












» ul 



1912/ It was found that of the 13,000 employees in the 
paper ana wood pulp industry in that state, 30 per cent, were 
' on shift-work, 68 per cent, were on day-work, about half on 
nine hours and about half on ten hours, and approximately 
2 per cent, were employed on some arrangement not specified. 
It is not known why the number of shift-workers in Massa- 
chusetts should be as low as 30 per cent.* 

On the Whole a Three-Shift Industry, 

The pulp and paper industry is mostly on three shifts 
(or tours as they are called in the industry), although the 
industry still contains a number of two-shift plants. Of the 
shift-workers in the mills of Massachusetts, 30 per cent, were, 
in 1912, on twelve-hour shifts, and 70 per cent, on eight-hour 
shifts. In the next two years, six Massachusetts mills 
changed to three shifts, not a large enough change, however, 
to affect materially the proportion of twelve-hour workers. 

The Census of Manufactures for 1914 showed that about 
16,500 of the 88,000 wage-earners in the paper industry were 
in plants where the prevailing hours of labor were seventy- 
two hours a week or over.' This figure is far from accurate 
even for that date, as it does not include paper plants where, 
as in Massachusetts, less than half of the employees are on 
shift-work. A study of the hours of 6,379 individual em- 
ployees in paper plants, both day-workers and shift-workers, 
made in 1919 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,* showed that 
7 per cent, of the number worked twelve hours. In 1921, 

'Massachusetts Labor Bulletin No. 103 "Wages and hours of labor 
in the paper and wood pulp industry." 

* The low percentage of shift-workers in Massachusetts paper mills 
may be because most of the mills manufacture fine paper, with a high 
percentage of employees in the finishing rooms. 

• The 1919 census tabulations do not show the number of seventy-two 
hour workers. But the figures for plants working "over sixty" Hours 
indicate that the number of seventy-two-hour workers had been greatly 

*U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin No. 265 ''Industrial 
survey in selected industries in the United States, 1919." 



one of the large associations of paper manufacturers, having 
about one hundred and twenty-five members in several 
branches of paper making, reported that about 20 per cent, 
of its member plants were on two shifts. 

Varying Practice in Different Sections, 

This figure is not to be taken as representative of the en- 
tire industry, as the practice varies in different branches of 
the industry and in different localities. The making of tissue 
paper is to a considerable extent on two shifts. The news- 
print paper plants are on three shifts generally, if not uni- 
versally. In general, the large paper-making centers, New 
England and Kalamazoo, Michigan, are on the three-shift 
system. In smaller paper mill centers the two-shift operation 
still prevails in many instances. 

There is a wide variation of practice in some districts. 
For example, in Philadelphia there are no mills on two 
shifts, yet some are found in Wilmington. The mills in the 
Miami Valley south of Dayton are on three shifts, while 
north of Cincinnati they are mainly on two shifts. Only 
three-shift mills could be found in Kalamazoo. The few 
mills in Minneapolis are on two shifts. On the whole, how- 
ever, the paper industry is on three shifts. It appears that 
not over 10 or 15 per cent, of the industry is on two-shift 

The question of shift systems in the paper industry has 
roused considerable interest. Mr. Robert B. Wolf has pre- 
pared a report on the changing of three plants from two to 
three shifts,* giving: 

1. Figures on manning scales. 

2. Quantity and quality of production. 

3. Labor cost. 

■Printed in the Bulletin of the Taylor Society, February, 1921, as 
part of discussion on the Three-Shift System in the Steel Industry. 


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4. Other data showing the advantage of three-shift over 
the two-shift system. 

It contains ample proof of the increased efficiency which 
can be gained in the paper industry by going to three shifts. 

While Mr. Wolf states that the improvement was in part 
due to mechanical betterments and in part to the stimulated 
interest of the men in their work, he is confident that the 
improvements realized would not have been attained had the 
companies continued to operate on the two-shift system. 

The evidence collected indicates, however, that gains as 
outstanding as those described by Mr. Wolf are not to be ex- 
pected if divorced from the effort to bring out the interest and 
efficiency of the men, which distinguished the introduction 
of the three-shift system in the plants which he described. 

An imusual situation exists in a southwestern Ohio paper 
company which has two plants under one roof, one of the 
plants on two-shift operation and the other on three-shift 
operation. The hourly wage-rates are fixed regardless of 
whether the length of the day is twelve or eight hours, so that 
the men in the twelve-hour plant earn 60 per cent, more than 
the men in the eight-hour plant. This condition has existed 
for some time without friction. There is enough difference 
between the type of mills and the work in the two plants so 
that the men could not easily change back and forth between 
the two. In the one plant the men prefer eight-hour work 
and in the other twelve. The management reports no dif- 
ference in the efficiency of the men in the two plants. 

Further evidence as to the wide variation in the results 
obtained by different organizations may be noted in the 
Massachusetts report on "Wages and Hours of Labor in the 
Paper and Wood Pulp Industry." In this report, the man- 
ning scales of the six paper mills which changed from two 
to three shifts between 1912 and 1914 are given before and 



after the change. The per cent, increase in pay rolls ascribed 
to the change in shift systems varied from .2 and .9 per cent, 
increase, respectively, for the two companies having the best 
records, to 26.8 and 17.7 per cent, increase, respectively, for 
the two companies having the poorest records. That the in- 
crease in wage cost was on the whole moderate is indicated 
by the fact that the two companies which occupied the 
medium position increased their respective pay rolls only 
4.2 and 5.7 per cent. In the case of at least four of the six 
companies, the increase in wage costs was so moderate that 
they might easily have been offset by a small increase in 

In the paper industry, more than in some others, there 
is a disadvantage in three-shift operation growing out of the 
necessity of three changes in personnel a day. This applies 
especially to such work as requires fine adjustment of equip- 
ment and special attention to uniformity of composition, 
color, etc., and where plants make many batches of special 

The attitude of labor in the industry towards three-shift 
operation depends considerably on whether the men are or- 
ganized or are in localities where the unions have exerted 
little influence. In the former case they are usually much 
more desirous of going to an eight-hour shift. On the whole 
the employees are strongly in favor of the three-shift system 
and would be very much opposed to going back to two shifts. 
It was stated, indeed, that but for the three-shift system en- 
terprising young men would shun the paper industry. 


Practically all of the large flour mills in the large centers 
are on three shifts. In the large milling centers, those plants 
which had not previously gone to three shifts, did so during 







' i 

i I 



the War. Country mills or those located m small towns 
usually nm by day only. Those located in the West went to 
an eight-hour day during the War. In the last year or two 
some of these have gone back to ten hours. Small mills in 
the East run a single shift of ten hours. In some of the 
cities of the East are to be found mills operating twelve-hour 
shifts. At Chattanooga is a mill which operates a twelve- 
hour shift even when operations are confined to daytime. 

The Minneapolis mills set the pace by adopting three 
shifts in 1902 or 1903. Although for a time some employees 
were retained on nine or ten-hour work, the eight-hour day 
became universal in the Minneapolis mills about April, 1918, 
and the mills now operate on a six-day week. 

In fact, what the Minneapolis managers have been giving 
most thought to in recent years (as respects hours) has been 
the question of the eight-hour versus the ten-hour day for 
those men who, prior to 1918, were on ten hours. This in- 
cludes roustabouts, packers, millwrights, sweepers, etc. The 
change from ten to eight hours in these departments seems 
to have worked well. In the Washburn-Crosby Mills the 
flour packers didf as much in eight as in ten hours. Under the 
ten-hour day they had really worked only nine hours. Even 
in the nine hours thajk they did work, there was an unwritten 
law covering the number of barrels which constituted a day's 
packing. The men were asked if they would do as much in 
eight hours as in ten. They said that they would, and they 
did. In some of the mechanical departments, as for instance 
the millwrights, where the day's task was less definite, the 
management found it necessary to add to the number of men. 
The increase in personnel was not large, and might be partly 
accounted for by an increase in the volume of work. 

The shift men at the Washburn-Crosby Mills are rotated 
once a month, but the roustabouts and packers who are on 
shifts do not rotate. The management believes that it gets 



a better type of labor because of being on the eight-hour day, 
and that accidents are less frequent. 

Three-Shift Operation Profitable. 

The Minneapolis experience with three shifts is of inter- 
est because: 

1. It shows the effect of three-shift operation over a period 

of twenty years. 

2. During much of this period the Minneapolis mills 

were in competition with important mills which 
were still operating on twelve-hour shifts. 

It was difficult, indeed, to ascertain definitely the effects 
of the change from two shifts to three in Minneapolis because 
it was made previous to the incumbency of many of those now 
managing the mills. A former head miller stated that the 
cost of production was somewhat higher after the change, but 
that the men worked better. In certain mills where there had 
been four men on each shift or eight altogether, three were 
sufficient on three shifts or a total of nine. In his judgment 
what had seemed an extravagant thing to do proved to be 
an efficient procedure. v 

The result of the long experience with three shifts in 
Minneapolis has been to establish the system *firmly. 

A mill superintendent of Philadelphia, a man of long 
experience, stated that there is no question but that flour 
mills can operate on three shifts with financial profit. This 
is easy if the two-shift mill has been badly run and if the 
going to three shifts is a part of a campaign of putting the 
mill on a business-like basis. Thus shortly after the 
armistice a mill was changed from two to three shifts with a 
reduction in the total number of employees from about 
thirty-three to twenty-six, and an increase in daily output of 




( \ 








1 1 









1 l-> 





! «' 

' -,' 



25 per cent. The details of the manning scale on two shifts 
and three shifts follow: 



AND Three-Shift System 

(A case of unusual gain, due in part to more than usually poor organi- 
lation while under the twelve-hour system) 


Manning scale on 
two shifts. 

Manning scale on 
three shifts. 






1 on a shift 





1 on a shift 



1 on each shift, extra 
in daytime 

Distribution not spec- 

1 on each shift 

1 on each shift 

3 packers and 2 load- 
ers on each shift. 

Daytime only 





Packers and 

5 packers and 1 
trucker on each 
shift, 9 day load- 



Daytime only 



Although this mill was not up to standard in efficiency 
when on a twelve-hour day, yet the data show some inter- 
esting facts : 

1. The greater proportionate increase in the number of 

those in a supervisory capacity, as millers. 

2. A general improvement of the organization after 

changing to three shifts, bringing savings in day- 
work as well as in shift-work. The suggestion is 



that the twelve-hour shift may be accompanied by 
laxity even in the day-work. 
3. In spite of the reduction in the number of men an 
increase in the output of the plant from seven hun- 
dred and seventy-five to nine hundred barrels per 
twenty-four hours. 

The above is an extreme example. A better illustration 
is a Louisville mill, which was put on three shifts about 1913. 
In this mill three shifts were operated with no larger force 
of men than had been used on two shifts, the number being 
about one hundred and fifty before and about one hundred 
and fifty after the change. But it was stated that the output 
was increased by 100,000 barrels per year, or 30 per cent. 
This reduced the manufacturing cost about 36 per cent. 

The gains are not limited to savings in manning or to in- 
crease in the volume of material handled. An important 
gain is made in conserving and increasing the percentage of 
fiour which is obtained from the wheat. The Philadelphia 
mill superintendent above referred to said that if milling 
methods are not what they should be, a part of the flour in 
the grains of wheat is lost and goes into the feed. In the 
milling of flour, the grain is '^broken" several times and the 
flour sifted out, sorted as it were, and made to flow through 
such channels and to such mills as will save as much of the 
flour as possible. Be rearranging the mill flow and by special 
care on the part of the millers the proportion of the flour 
saved can be increased. 

The savings in manning, the increase In the capacity of 
a mill, and the conservation of flour are largely due to the 
planning of the management. But it is held that these 
changes cannot be brought to the highest effectiveness unless 
millers and men cooperate; and they cooperate much better 
on eight hours than on twelve. 








II 1^ ^ 

I ' 




Every reply to an inquiry regarding the rubber industry 
was to the effect that there is now no twelve-hour shift in the 

Before the rise in importance of the automobile tire, 
rubber plants rarely worked at night. The industry was 
then centered in Massachusetts. But when a plant did op- 
erate nights, it was on eleven and thirteen-hour shifts. Upon 
the development of the rubber tire, the length of time re- 
quired for vulcanizing, which in the early days was four or 
^ve hours, together with the rapid expansion of the business, 
caused a distinct increase in the amount of continuous-opera- 
tion, especially as respects vulcanizing. There was, accord- 
ingly, a considerable period, lasting in Akron until 1916, 
in which the eleven and thirteen-hour shifts were an im- 
portant feature in a rubber plant. Following the adop- 
tion of the three-shift system in 1916, and prior to the de- 
pression in the industry a year ago, the unprecedented 
activity of the industry caused a general adoption of con- 
tinuous-operation in tire manufacture. Generally the equip- 
ment came to be run continuously on a three-shift basis. 

Since the depression in the industry there has been a 
marked difference of opinion regarding the permanence or 
the advisability of continuous-operation. Technically, it is 
not so important since the vulcanizing process has been re- 
duced in time from four or five hours to about one and a half 
hours. Some hold that it was only the abnormal production 
and rapid expansion of the industry which brought about 
continuous-operation, and that there is no technical reason 
why the industry should stay on continuous-operation. Others 
say that in view of the expensive equipment and the rapidity 
with which it becomes obsolete it should be operated to its 
full capacity during its life. The vulcanizing process, more- 



over, invites continuous-operation, though not so insistently 
as the beat process in many industries. At present there is 
an overexpansion of equipment in the industry, so that it is' 
likely that the pressure of circumstances will cau^e an aban- 
donment of continuous-operation. However, many of the 
elements are present which in other -industries have led and 
still lead to a large measure of continuous-operation. 

At the time of writing, 1922, owing to abnormal condi- 
tions in the industry, the working schedules of the Akron 
plants are arranged in many different and exceptional ways. 
There is no indication as to what the p'ermanent outcome will 
be. Temporarily the Goodrich Rubber Company has 
changed from three eight-hour shifts to two shifts totaling 
twenty-one hours, the day-shift being ten hours and the night- 
shift eleven. During the other three hours the plant is idle. 
The day-shift works five and a half days a week — fifty-five 
hours in all ; and the night shift five nights a week — ^likewise 
fifty-five hours in all. To say thaj the company was on ten 
and eleven-hour shifts without further qualifications would 
be misleading, not only because the eleven-hour shift is only 
run five nights, but because work is so slack that the men do 
not work the full fifty-five-hour week.' For the time being, 
fifty-five hours is the standard, but it is not the actual prac- 

The principal change, which was in the length of the 
working day, has carried with it a new arrangement of sev- 
eral other details as respects shifts. Under the three eight- 
hour shift system, the plant operated from 12 Sunday mid- 
night to 11 A. M. Saturday. The company experienced diffi- 
culty due to the fact that men on the Saturday afternoon shift 
would not report for work. Under the present arrangement 
there is no Saturday afternoon shift. Under the former 
system, the men ate during working hours. Now the two 
shifts are each split around a half-hour lunch period, so that 



y J 

I () 




/ ■ ■ 



the plant is closed down, aside from these lunch periods, for 
two hours. One of the reasons, it should be stated, why the 
ten and eleven hour arrangement was adopted was because 
it would help on the housing shortage until such time as the 
situation should be relieved. 

The management finds that the showing of the ten and 
eleven-hour arrangement has been more profitable both to the 
management and the men than the eight-hour arrangement. 
The special circumstances noted above must, however, be taken 
into account, also the fact that the comparison was between 
an eight-hour shift system operated when the labor situation 
was unfavorable, the turnover large, and housing inadequate, 
and a ten-hour shift system operated when these conditions 
were reversed. 

In recent years there has been no rotation of shifts in the 
Goodrich plant. In the early days shifts did rotate. The 
company thinks that from the standpoint of fixed habits of 
the men it is better not to rotate. The men like the fixed 
shifts better. The older men get the day shift. When the 
company was on three shifts, the men disliked most the shift 
from 11 p. M. to 7 a. m., but the greatest loss of efficiency 
was on the shift from 3 p. m. to 11 p. m. because of the 
irregularity of attendance on Saturday afternoons. The Good- 
rich plant does not employ women at night, as do some of the 
other Akron plants, but during the War there was a departure 
from this practice, and it was found that many women pre- 
ferred the night shift. The power plant, which runs seven 
days a week, is still on eight hours. 

The movement to a fifty-five hour week for Goodrich shift 
workers is part of a larger movement from an eight-hour 
day to a fifty-five hour week for day-workers. In the manu- 
facture of tires, 65 per cent, cf the employees are on shift- 
work, but as tire manufacture constitutes only about one- 
third of the Goodrich plant, and the rest of the plant does not 



have night-work, only about one-fifth of the total enrollment 
of employees are on shift-work. It should again be noted 
that the present plan is one adopted for the present situation, 
and the management does not regard it as necessarily per- 
manent. Other concerns at Akron are working on different 
basis, some on eight-hour shifts. It is said that none have 
adopted twelve-hour shifts. 


The manufacture of breakfast foods is largely an auto- 
matic process. In the manufacture of corn flakes, 
for instance, the initial stages are analogous to milling. 
The second stage is cooking, the third, rolling the cooked 
grains into flakes. The flakes are then passed through ovens 
and toasted, and packed into cartons. Throughout these 
operations the product is carried by chutes, on belts or other- 
wise conveyed. The cartons are machine filled. The indus- 
try is primarily a machine industry, the greatest need for 
labor being in connection with the packing, where women are 
employed. If a plant makes its own cartons, they are manu- 
factured on day-work, or on two shifts totaling less than 
twenty-four hours. But all the processing of the product is 

The preparation of cereal foods is usually on three shifts. 
Of the two leading concerns at Battle Creek, Michigan, one 
has women employees on three shifts, men on two shifts ; the 
other is operating three shifts as respects both men and 

The plant on three shifts adopted the plan about 1910. 
Three-shift operation is uniformly applied in all the depart- 
ments which actually handle the product from the mills that 
work on the com to the packing. The power plant is also on 
three shifts. The unloading of corn is on a ten-hour day. 


^i^ta- TL-iap^^-T-. .--TJiar^-n 


The mechanical men are mostly on a single eight-hour shift, 
but the machine shop runs three eight-hour shifts. The print- 
ing of the paper stock for cartons is on two eight-hour shifts, 
or on three eight-hour shifts depending upon the season. 

The understanding between the board of directors and 
the management of the plant was that the product was to 
cost no more than when on two shifts. The effort to keep 
within the limit of costs was successful. In changing to 
three shifts, the management called the foremen together and 
obtained their suggestions. Jobs were eliminated wherever 
possible. The employees as a rule did not get such high 
earnings per day on three shifts but received more per hour, 
the largest cut in daily wages being one-sixth. In some cases 
employees earned more on eight hours than they had earned 
on twelve. 

The effect of three shifts on cost was not uniform in all 
departments. In the producing departments, three shifts 
were made to pay. The work of some groups of employees, 
such as engineers, and general overhead labor, costs more. 
One department where success in keeping down cost was 
greatest was the boiler room. The company allotted the 
amount it could afford to pay in wages, and the boiler room 
was left to work out its own manning schedule. 


The arrangement of work periods in bakeries varies 

In a large Philadelphia bakery the only employees whose 
working hours were definitely fixed were those in the power 
plant, the watchmen, and, to a degree, the drivers. Not all 
the mixing or all the baking was done at the same time, and 
because of the fluctuation in the demand for bread even the 
men who had regular assignments of work had no definite 



hours. The day for mixers and bakers ranged from seven to 
nine hours, an ordinary run being forty-five to forty-eight 
hours. The only employees on three shifts were the power 
plant men and the watchmen. 

The only employees of this bakery who worked long 
turns were the drivers, who worked from about midnight 
to about noon the next day — sometimes as much as thirteen 
hours. The drivers worked on commission and largely ran 
their own business ; their working time depended on the size 
of the trade, the nature of the route — ^whether city or sub- 
urban — and doubtless on the despatch with which they 
worked. The company tried, however, to limit the routes to 

ten hours. 

The practice in this bakery is thought to represent the 
practice throughout Philadelphia. 

In Chicago baking has been on three eight-hour shifts 
for many years, all the stages of bread making proceeding 
throughout the twenty-four hours. There is no baking, how- 
ever, on Saturday. The three shifts at a plant investigated 
were about equal in respect to the number of men employed, 
and included practically all employees. At the time of mak- 
ing the study, business was slack, partly because of a pro- 
tracted strike and some plants were only running two eight- 
hour shifts. The drivers in Chicago have no regular hours, 
some of the men covering their routes in eight hours, others 
taking twelve hours. 

In the state of Ohio, twelve of the two hundred and 
eighty-seven bakeries reporting to the Industrial Commission 
in 1915 gave their full-time working week as seventy-two 
hours or over. By 1919, this proportion had been reduced 
to two bakeries out of four hundred and three. Such statistics 
as are available indicate a tendency towards longer hours, on 
the part of certain groups of bakery employees, than are 
common in the strictly non-continuous industries. 



' ( 








Saw mills are ordinarily operated during the day only, 
or on two eight-hour or two ten-hour shifts. However, a few 
years ago two of the largest saw mills in the country, one in 
Louisiana, and the other in the Northwest, were operating 
on three eight-hour shifts. 


The industries grouped under this classification are not 
necessarily continuous, and as a rule do not operate con- 
tinuously. At times, however, either commercial conditions 
or the advantages of an increase in operating time as applied 
to heavy equipment may cause them to operate day and night. 

In general the fabricating as opposed to the processing 
industries run by day only. The ordinary manufacturing 
industries : machine shops, furniture factories, clothing shops, 
shoe shops and plants manufacturing electrical goods, loco- 
motives, typewriters and the construction industry are defi- 
nitely daytime industries. During rush periods, however, 
there is some night-work, and in a few of the more heavily 
equipped of these industries there is a growing tendency to 
favor sixteen-hour or twenty-four-hour operation as a con- 
tinuous or recurrent arrangement. 


The clearest illustration of this tendency is the automobile 
industry of Detroit. Most of the large automobile manufac- 
turers of Detroit operate on two eight-hour shifts. The 
largest, the Ford plant, operates on a combination of two 
eight-hour and three eight-hour shifts. 

The Ford policy is to change this department or that from 
two to three shifts, or from three to two shifts (of eight hours 

- ■ Mffgi ' - a pi K ' a i " *^' -" 



each) as required to keep the capacity of the plant adjusted 
to the demand for automobiles. In October, 1921, only 
about 20 per cent, of the departments were on three shifts, 
but sometimes as high as 75 per cent, are on that basis. 
No women or children are employed on any but the day- 
shift. Watchmen, like other employees, are on eight-hour 
shifts. The plant runs either five or six days a week, and 
shifts are rotated once every two weeks, thus making a com- 
plete round in six weeks. 

The practice among the other larger plants is to operate 
on a day shift of about nine hours for five-and-a-half days 
or fifty hours per week. The night shift is ten hours for 
five nights — likewise fifty hours per week. The smaller 
factories run twelve hours at night for five nights or sixty 
hours a week. Their day-shift would be less than twelve 
hours, thus leaving some interval between the day and night 


Shipyards run in the daytime only, except when making 
rush repairs, and contemplate no change. Watchmen, of 
course, must be employed at night. The largest shipyard 
on the Delaware River, employing one hundred and eighty 
watchmen, works them on three eight-hour shifts. 


Textile manufacturing is a daytime industry. But night 
operation is a common practice, especially when business is 
good. A few textile mills located in the North have run on 
three shifts. There is no special advantage in making the 
day and night shifts continuous. Commonly there is one day 
shift and one night shift, which together work somewhat less 
than twenty-four hours. 





In Georgia, the mills frequently run nights, but not for 
more than sixty hours a week. The state law forbids a week 
of longer than sixty hours for any shift in this industry. The 
custom is to run only five nights of twelve hours each. A day- 
shift of sixty hours is based on an eleven-hour day, as the 
mills run only half a day on Saturday. A minority of the 
Georgia mills, which turn out, however, more than half of the 
product, have adopted a fifty-five hour week on day-work. 
The managements believe that the employees will do as much 
in ten as in eleven hours. A twelve-hour night shift and an 
eleven-hour day shift give practically continuous-operation 
on a two-shift basis, for the six days and five nights which 
the plant runs. 

The textile mills in the Carolinas operate on much the 
same arrangement as in Georgia. 

In the North, night work is common, but there is con- 
siderable variation in the length of the shifts. This is partly 
due to state laws regulating the hours of women, which in 
effect determine the hours worked by the men. One company 
having mills in several states operates a forty-eight hour 
week in Massachusetts, a fifty-four hour week in Rhode 
Island, and a fifty-five hour week in Connecticut. Often the 
number of hours in any one working day is longer than the 
number of hours worked per week divided by six, because of 
a Saturday half-holiday, or because of working only five 
nights. The company mentioned runs its plants six nights, 
which gives shifts of about eight or nine hours. 

A company operating in New York State reports that 
about half of its 1,000 to 1,200 employees are on shifts, 
continuous-operation being the ordinary practice throughout 
the year. This company during 1918-19-20 ran its yarn mill 
on three eight-hour shifts. The department is now (1922) 
on one ten-hour shift (fifty-four hours a week), and one 
twelve-hour shift (sixty hours a week). The spinning room. 




wash houses, etc., are on one ten-hour and one twelve-hour 
shift. The finishing room, where only women are employed, 
is on a single shift of ten hours (fifty-four a week). 
This company has not employed women at night, except on 
the evening eight-hour shift when the yam mill was on that 

In Pennsylvania some of the silk mills have departments 
operating on two twelve-hour shifts. At a large bleachery in 
Delaware, employing about 1,300 persons, four or five de- 
partments sometimes run at night, when the plant is busy. 
About three hundred employees are then on shifts, the day- 
shift running from 7 a. m. to 5 :30 p. m. and the night-shift 
from 5 :30 p. m. to 7 a. m. 



Meat packing is not a continuous-operation industry. 
Because of the great fluctuations in the number of head of 
stock brought to the market on different days, there are rush 
days and slack days. This situation was recognized in a 
decision made in 1921 by Judge Alschuler, then acting as 
arbiter for the Chicago packing industry, which permitted 
the operation of the plants slightly over eight hours (the 
standard day) on several days a week. Were there no rules 
or precedents it is possible that in this industry long hours 
might alternate with short hours. But the packers are not 
disposed to start an extra shift for such limited periods as 
the rush work occupies. 

Power plants are the only important part of a packing 
establishment to require continuous attention. Before 1921 
they had been on two twelve-hour shifts, but for them also the 
Alschuler awards established an eight-hour day. Watchmen 
are still on two twelve-hour shifts. Aside from men in the 






power plants and watchmen, there are a few men on con- 
tinuous work in charge of tanks. These men were put on 
eight-hour shifts by the arbitration awards. 

East of Chicago the Alschuler awards did not apply and 
some of the power plants may be on twelve-hour shifts. 


The canning of vegetables brings a fluctuating demand 
for labor. When weather conditions bring in a huge crop of 
tomatoes all at once, the canneries are taxed to their utmost 
capacity, and work almost any length of hours for a short 
period. The canning establishments do not, so far as learned, 
run an extra shift. They cannot run two shifts or three 
shifts because they lack the supervising personnel. One lead- 
ing concern reported that there had been occasions during the 
tomato season when a small group would work through the 
entire twenty-four hours, but this was exceptional. Their 
maximum working day, under ordinary rush conditions, is 
fifteen hours, and ordinarily it is only nine hours. 


No systematic study of creameries has been mada No 
concerns were found to have run continuously, except as re- 
gards the men responsible for power and refrigeration. Sta- 
tistics for hours in creameries indicate that the working week 
is longer than in many other industries, but this is due in 
part to a seven-day week. 


The main operation in mining need not be continuous, 
but to a large extent they are run on more than one shift. 
There is no day or night under ground, and the mines must 
be pumped and kept ill operating condition. Hence the ten- 
dency towards shift-operation. 




In odd cases, mines may be run on twelve-hour shifts as 
was found to be true of clay mines in Florida, but this is 
exceptional. The main work of mining differs from the super- 
visory type of work which is characteristic of the continuous 
industries, in that it involves a large proportion of heavy 
manual labor. The loss in efficiency on twelve-hour shifts 
would, therefore, be much more obvious. This nature of the 
work, together with the lack of special reason for continuous- 
operation and the influence of trade unions, has fixed the 
workday of the miner at about eight hours. 

In some instances mines are operated on two shifts of 
about eight hours each. The work on the two shifts may 
be different — cutting and blasting on one shift, and loading 
on the other; or the work of the second shift may consist of 
tunnelling and other work incidental to keeping the mines 
clear. In other mines two eight-hour shifts of the same kind 
of work are run, and sometimes three eight-hour shifts. The 
latter is the practice in copper mining in the West. Two 
shifts (of eight hours) are more common than three. 

There are, however, auxiliary occupations in mines which 
necessarily are continuous, such as those of engineers, fire- 
men and pumpmen. In metal mines these men are mainly 
on eight-hour shifts. 

In the union and some of the non-union mines in the bitu- 
minous coal fields of Pennsylvania, engineers, firemen, and 
perhaps pumpmen work on eight-hour shifts. That two shifts 
for this class of employees in bituminous mines is not un- 
common is indicated, however, by statistics collected in 1919 
by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,* which show a scattering 
of twelve-hour men among employees in these three occu- 
pations. In some localities, the twelve-hour men formed a 
considerable proportion of the total, as in Oklahoma, which 

•U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin No. 265, ''Industrial 
survey in selected industries in the United States, 1919.*' 




i 1 iTWX- 


% : 


had seven twelve-hour pumpmen out of fifteen, and twelve 
twelve-hour engineers out of seventeen; and in Indiana, 
which had twenty twelve-hour firemen out of thirty. In 
other states, including Pennsylvania, the proportions were 

In the anthracite field, the twelve-hour shift is almost 
universal for pumpmen. An operator knew of no mine which 
had its pumpmen on three shifts. The figures collected by 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1919 showed that more 
than 71 per cent, of the pumpmen in the anthracite field 
averaged twelve hours a day or over. Engineers and firemen 
were some years ago put on eight-hour shifts and there are 
few on the two-shift system at the present time. 

The sentiment of the anthracite operators is different in 
respect to engineers and firemen on the one hand, and pump- 
men on the other. The former classes of employees work 
hard, and the eight-hour shift, the operators think, is not 
unreasonable. But the pumpmen have little to do except turn 
a valve now and then. The pumpman is probably a retired 
miner who wants a steady but not too difficult job. He wants 
to make what money he can for his family and is said not to 
mind the hours. So the operators, though they sympathize 
with the idea of putting engineers and firemen on three 
shifts, think that to put pumpmen on that system would be 
unreasonable. This distinction did not, however, strike the 
bituminous operators as important, many of whom have gone 
ahead and put their pumpmen on three shifts. 

In tunneling, which presents much the same problem as 
mining, two eight-hour shifts are used. In the construction 
of the Catskill aqueduct, however, the work of excavating was 
continuous in both headings from each shaft. There were 
two eight-hour drilling shifts, with a four-hour mucking 
period after each. 




Factory Power Plants, 

These is an increasing tendency for factories to buy 
rather than to generate electric current. While most of the 
establishments investigated develop their own power, thirty- 
six out of eighty-six cement plants from which data were 
collected purchase power. 

A power plant is more or less continuous even in the 
case of those industries which are not continuously operated. 
But the number of workers at night is less than by day. 
Moreover, it is possible to arrange overlapping shifts which 
will provide more men during the period when work is active 
and fewer when it is inactive, without any of the men being 
on exactly twelve-hour or eight-hour shifts. This means that 
night men may often be on duty for twelve hours, or even 
more, but the possibilities of arrangement are flexible, and 
there is a wider choice of working periods than is permissible 
in power houses or other factory departments whose main 
processes run continuously and where the only practical 
alternative is between the twelve-hour and the eight-hour 

The power departments of plants which operate con- 
tinuously present much the same problem in shift arrange- 
ment as exists in the production departments of those in- 
dustries. In general, power plants in factories have been run 
on twelve-hour shifts down to the last few years. At present 
there is a strong tendency to put engineers and firemen, in 







common with other continuous-operation employees, on three 
shifts. In some of the continuous industries there is a 
stronger tendency to put engineer and boiler room employees 
on three shifts than process men, who may not have much 
manual work to do. In other instances, especially where 
mechanical stokers are used, the men in the power depart- 
ments have been thought less deserving of an eight-hour shift 
than other employees. But since hoiler and engine rooms 
usually run continuously, if any factory department does, 
and may run twenty-four hours when almost no other depart- 
ments do, the actual number of twelve-hour employees among 
engineers and firemen has been large. Generally in a two- 
shift plant they are on two shifts, and they often work two 
shifts of twelve hours when most other men in the plant work 
only ten hours. 

It is hard to make a general statement as to the possibility 
of attaining greater efficiency or reducing manning schedules 
in changing engine and boiler rooms from two- to three-shift 
operation. In some cases it has been difficult to make a re- 
duction in the number of men required, in other cases there 
has been a material reduction in personnel per shift. 

Table 10 shows the reductions in the manning scale 
effected in the power plant of the Midvale Steel Company 
when that department changed to three shifts in 1914. The 
management had said that three shifts could be put into 
effect if no additional men had to be hired. The men accepted 
this condition with the agreement that they were to receive 
the same wages for eight hours as they had been receiving 
for twelve. While the number of employees varied from 
month to month, the figures shown in the table represent 
average conditions with the plant running at nearly full 

There was some inci'ease in total manning and hence total 
pay roll in changing to three shifts^ but the increase was not 





more than 8 per cent. The smallness of the increase was 
due to the cooperation of the men with the management, the 
men working harder, especially in No. 1 boiler house, which 
was hand-fired. When the plant was speeded up during the 
War the men were unable to handle the work. Before the 
War was over, there were as many men on the eight-hour 
shifts as there had been on the twelve-hour shifts. 


Comparative Manning Scales, Two-Shipt and Three-Shut 
Systems. Poweb Plant, Midvale Steel Company 

No. 1 

No. 2 

No. 3 



Two-shift system: 
Day shift 






Night shift 


Total two shifts 

Three-shift system: 
"A" shift 











"B" shift 


"C" shift 


Total three shifts 






Engineers <md Firemen in Office Buildings, Hotels, etc. 

There are many small power or heating and refrigerating 
plants in office buildings, hotels, etc., which require the ser- 
vices of engineers and firemen. Formerly these men were 
on twelve-hour shifts. During the War the twelve-hour shift 
practice for this class of employee seems to have been 
eliminated. Information from widely separated "cities indi- 










cates that these men are now generally working on three shifts, 
or some arrangement other than two shifts. 

Public Service Electric Plants. 

This investigation showed that practically no central 
electric stations are at present operating on twelve-hour 
shifts. In most cases the abandonment of the two-shift 
system took place many years ago. In 1915 only thirty-two 
of the ninety-two electric light and power plants in Ohio 
reported a full-time working week of seventy-two hours or 
more. By 1919, there were only six such plants out of ninety- 
eight. In many of the larger cities the change to three-shift 
operation was made ten to twenty years ago, and for a 
number of years past the plants remaining on two-shift oper- 
ation have been of only minor importance. 

It was found that an important power company in Ala- 
bama operated its steam plant for three months a year on 
twelve-hour shifts. In its hydro-electric plant, the men 
worked twelve hours at night and eight hours by day, the 
maintenance men doing shift duty for four hours. 

The investigator found only the one two-shift company 
during the course of this study. A table showing the results 
of an extensive analysis of the hours of employees in various 
electric plants scattered over the country, which had been 
compiled by electric interests, showed no employees working 
twelve hours except a few in one plant located in Arkansas. 
In general it may be said that the generation of electricity 
in central electric stations is on three shifts, except that here 
and there a few substation men are on twelve-hour shifts. 

Electric plants have been on three shifts for so many years 
that no comparison can be made of the relative cost and effi- 
ciency of two-shift and three-shift operation. The question 
is all the more difficult because there have been radical 




changes in equipment and methods since the two-shift system 
has been abolished. 

Nevertheless, it is important to know whether the eight- 
hour shift is an advantage or disadvantage to the industry. 
In general, the electric companies report that when they 
changed to three shifts they added about 50 per cent, more 
men. Whether better efficiency was attained is a question 
answered in different ways. 

The operating head of a large Pittsburgh station declared 
that public utility companies would not consider twelve-hour 
operation, because having gone more carefully into the ques- 
tion of efficient generation of power than was true of factory 
power plants, they knew that it was impossible to get from 
men working twelve hours a day the rigid adherence to high 
standards of operation essential to maximum economy. 

A Cincinnati electric company abolished the twelve-hour 
day eight years ago. At first they changed to ten hours, then 
to nine hours, and five or six years ago to eight hours. This 
plant operates at an exceptionally high thermal efficiency. 
This is due largely to the plant construction and equipment, 
but there has also been developed an extensive program of 
technical education for the employees. Because of the eight- 
hour shift and the educational program made possible by the 
shorter working day, the company obtains employees of a 
better type than formerly. 

The management of the Philadelphia Electric Company 
states that the number of employees on shift-work was in- 
creased by 50 per cent, in the original change to three-shift 
operation. But since that time the equipment has become 
more complex and is now combined in larger units, the work 
of the men is now more diversified and the standard of oper- 
ation has been raised. Because of these conditions the super- 
intendent is of the opinion that the men could not maintain 
for twelve hours the quality of work they are doing on an 





.-■ » 

' 1 


eight-hour shift. This he thought would be especially true 
during the summer months. It is his further judgment that, 
if the plant should now go back to twelve-hour shifts, almost 
as many men would be needed as are now employed on eight- 
hour shifts, but that the men would not be willing to go 
back even if they were paid as much per hour for twelve 
hours as for eight. 

The Philadelphia Electric Company recently reduced the 
working week from seven to six days, with results so satisfac- 
tory to both management and men that neither would favor 
a return to the longer week. The spirit of the organization 
has improved under the new plan, and only one-tenth instead 
of one-sixth more men are needed for its operation. 

In electric plants while nearly all the main operating de- 
partments are on shift-work, such activities as handling coal 
and doing repair work are not on a shift basis. In one plant 
50 per cent, of the men were on shift-work and 50 per cent, 
on day-work. Day-workers are often employed for nine or 
ten hours, but in practically all cases shift-work is now on 
an eight-hour basis. 


In the gas industry the proportion of shift-workers is 
rather large. There has been, in places, a retention of the 
system of nine- or ten-hour overlapping shifts. The chief 
center in which the ten-hour shift, in conjunction with the 
J eight-hour shift is still employed, is Philadelphia and out- 
J lying localities in the same operating system. Also the 
twelve-hour shift was long retained in those gas plants era- 
ploying colored labor. Richmond, Virginia, was on twelve- 
hour shifts until the late War; a leading Georgia company 
until 1919, and several of the larger cities in Tennessee are 
still on twelve-hour shifts. A large city in Indiana was on 
twelve-hour shifts until about six years ago. 




The managers of gas plants differ in opinion as to the 
effect of changing to three-shift operation. In New York 
City the gas plants abandoned twelve hours some time ago 
and more recently changed from a nine- to an eight-hour basis, 
arranging day-work also on eight-hour schedules. The eight- 
hour system is regarded as more satisfactory than the nine- 
hour system. At the municipally operated plant in Rich- 
mond the men do as much in eight as formerly in twelve 
hours. The management maintains that the new arrange- 
ment is an improvement from the standpoint of the city's 

The Georgia plant which changed in 1919 found that 
the general spirit and reliability of its employees, part 
colored and part white, was improved. There was possibly 
some saving in materials and upkeep. However, 50 per cent, 
more men were required for shift-work at the time of 
change. At present the operating crew is no larger under 
three shifts than it had been under two, which is due in large 
measure to improved machinery. Output was not affected by 
the change. The men prefer three shifts, but there has been 
no improvement as to absenteeism and labor turnover. 

The superintendent of the Indiana plant reported that 
there was little difference in the efficiency of the men on 
twelve-hour and eight-hour shifts. In either case the men 
were given a definite amount of work to do in a given time ; 
there was a rest period between the pushing of hot ovens. 
Under the eight-hour system, it was unnecessary to carry 
extra men to take the place of regular men who were absent. 
Some men were always willing to work an extra shift, or 
sixteen hours, and could do so easily. On the other hand, 
there was difficulty under the eight-hour system in getting 
good foremen for the wages offered. The better men pre- 
ferred the longer hours on account of the higher pay. Colored 
labor preferred the shorter hours, the better class of Slavs 


the long hours. This company has been contemplating re- 
turning to twelve-hour shifts. 

A Colorado company found that three shifts required 
more men than two shifts. There was no noticeable increase 
in output, and it was questionable whether quality had im- 
proved. No improvement in the case of equipment or reduc- 
tion in wastes had occurred. The changing to three shifts 
had reduced labor turnover and absenteeism. The manage- 
ment stated that both the company and the men were satisfied 
with the three-shift plan. 


Conditions in Philadelphia Plant 

The manufacture of gas in Philadelphia illustrates the 
workings of the ten-hour shift arrangement. There are not 
more than about thirty-five twelve-hour men. These are em- 
ployed in the seven holder stations, with five men each— one 
in charge and four on definite twelve-hour shifts. A few 
watchmen may be on twelve-hour shifts. But these twelve- 
hour shift holder station employees, together with watchmen 
who may be on the same hours, are insignificant in number 
compared with the 1,300 employees of the gas works proper. 
When the city operated the gas works in 1897, it is said 
that practically all the men worked twelve hours. When the 
operation of the works was placed in private hands the new 
management reduced the day from twelve to ten hours. The 
company also arranged for the men to have one day off per 
week— if they chose. Some of the groups of men, however, 
for example the engineers and firemen, usually work seven 
days a week. 

Some years ago the management entertained the idea of 
changing to eight-hour shifts and a six-day week, but as the 
men were not interested, the ten-hour shift was retained. 
However, the practice is not uniform in all departments. 


Manufactured gas is of two varieties, coal gas and water ) 
gas. The manufacture of coal gas formerly required much 
shoveling and is still somewhat hotter and more difficult than 
the making of water gas. Several of the jobs in the Philadel- , 
phia works making coal gas are on three eight-hour shifts. 
The floormen, who formerly shoveled coal, the charging and 
discharging machine men and the coke men work eight hours. 
The foremen, the coal conveyor and bulling machine men 
and the engineers are on ten-hour shifts. Most of the men 
in the retort house work thirteen days and then have a day \ 
off. Some have one day off in seven. The engineers have_J 
no regular days off. 

In making water gas, the continuous work is on ten-hour 
shifts. Foremen and gas makers work six days only, but all 
others, including engineers, firemen, water tenders, coal 
passers, clinkerers and filter men, work seven days a week. 

The distillation plant, wherein are produced coal tar 
by-products, is on three shifts. The men work ten hours a 
day, seven days a week. The still men may go home when 
their work is finished, which may be at the end of seven, 
eight or nine hours. Clerks work nine hours. The testing 
stations are on three eight-hour shifts. 

Several expedients are used in Philadelphia in providing 
for ten-hour shift operation while maintaining a continuous 
twenty-four-hour schedule. 

1. Under one arrangement, ^ve engineers man two jobs. 

Two work ten hours each on one of the jobs; two 
work ten hours each on the other job and the fifth 
man works four hours on one and four hours on the 
other job. He then completes his turn by working 
two hours at repair work in another engine room. 

2. According to another plan, three engineers work on 

the same job ten hours each so as to give two over- 


laps of one hour each during which two engineers 
are on the job, and one overlap of four hours. 
3. According to another plan the men come on duty every 
two hours and work for ten hours. By having 
twelve men working under this arrangement, an 
even ^we would be on duty during every part of 
the day. 

These examples show the possibility of changing from 
twelve-hour to ten-hour shifts where it is considered inad- 
visable to shorten the shifts to eight hours. 


Water-works plants must opearte continuously. The 
labor required, however, is less than in the case of any other 
public utility — the pumping of water for New York City 
requring only 339 shift-workers and forty-seven day men. 
The water-works plants of Richmond, Atlanta and Birming- 
ham require the services of about sixteen, forty-five and 
twenty-four shift-workers respectively. 

Most water-works plants are on eight-hour shifts. How- 
ever, in four southern cities in which inquiries were made 
two operated their plants on twelve-hour shifts. One of these 
is a municipal and the other a private plant. The third plant 
had changed from two to three shifts about 1918. The fourth 
had been on three shifts for a number of years. 

In the instance of the municipal plant, the men were 
really operating under a system of twenty-four hours on and 
twenty-four hours off, the works being located a little out 
from town and the men preferring that arrangement, appar- 
ently for reasons of traiisportation. 

In 1915, four of the sixteen Ohio water works reporting 
to the Industrial Commission reported a full-time working 





week of seventy-two hours or over. By 1919 this had been 
reduced to one plant out of twenty-three. ^ 


Until recently the manufacture of ice has been one of 
the most completely two-shift industries in the coimtry, both 
in the proportion of shift employees in any given plant, and 
in the proportion of plants on a twelve-hour basis. During y 
the War three-shift operation gained headway in the East, 
particularly in the case of the large companies supplying the 
chief seaboard cities. One company having plants in Boston, 
Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Baltimore and Washington 
changed to three shifts at that time. Today most of the large 
city ice companies in both East and West are on a three-shift 

But there is still a large volume of twelve-hour work in 
the industry, particularly among the smaller plants and in 
small towns. As examples : 

1. Small companies in Philadelphia and all the plants 

in Richmond,^ Atlanta, Birmingham and Chatta- 
nooga operate on a twelve-hour basis. ' 

2. The 1919 Census of Manufactures shows that the 

great majority of wage-earners engaged in ice manu- 
facture throughout the South and a substantial pro- 
portion of those in the North are in plants where 
the hours of labor are over sixty hours per week. 

3. All the regular ice plants in Pittsburgh ^re on 

twelve-hour shifts. 

4. In Ohio, as late as 1919, twenty out of the one hundred 

companies reporting to the state authorities gave 

*In Eichmond engineers and firemen are on eight-hour shifts in the 
snmmer months and ice pullers engaged in the manufacture of ice from 
aerated as opposed to distilled water are on ten-hour shifts. 


their full-time working week as seventy-two hours 
or over. In 1915 the proportion had been forty- 
seven plants out of seventy. 

In ice plants practically all the work is on a shift basis. 
The engineers and firemen must be on shift-work. The ice 
pullers usually are on shift-work. However, the latter often 
finish their work in ten hours instead of twelve, or in seven- 
and-a-half hours instead of eight. In a few cases ice pulling 
is arranged on a single shift. 

The manufacture of ice is highly seasonal. The plants 
are rather dormant during the winter and occasionally work 
only one shift. It is not uncommon for plants to operate 
three eight-hour shifts in the summer and two twelve-hour 
shifts in the winter. 

Opinions regarding the relative efficiency of the two-shift 
and three-shift operation of ice plants vary. The men in 
actual charge of plants state that three-shift operation is 

At the plant of a large company in Philadelphia the 
change from twelve- to eight-hour shifts was made — ^without 
changing the hourly wage rate — ^because it was difficult to 
get men to work twelve hours. The increase in the number 
of shift-workers was nearly 50 per cent. Table 11, which 
shows the manning schedules both old and new, well illus- 
trates the difficulty of saving in manning in a small plant. 

The problem of twenty-four hour operation exists in ice- 
cream plants, cold-storage plants, dairies or other places 
where refrigeration is necessary. In Pittsburgh, where the 
ice companies are all on two shifts, the largest ice-cream com- 
pany has been on three shifts for about fifteen years. The 
chief engineer of this company said that he would not want 
to change to two shifts. During the years which the com- 
pany has operated its power department on three shifts, the 


plant has grown so that even on eight-hour shifts the work 
is almost too heavy to handle. 



A Philadelphia Ice Plant 


Engineers. . 



Coal passers 
Ice puUers.. 
Handjnnen . 
Extra labor. 



employed on 

two shifts 



employed on 

three shifts 




A comparison of the situation in this plant with that in 
the small Philadelphia plant already described suggests that 
the possibility of introducing an eight-hour shift into ice 
making without loss depends in no small measure on the 
building of larger and more improved equipment, into which 
a man may be able to put substantially as much labor and 
usefulness in eight hours as he could put into the old style 
equipment in twelve hours. 




Ocean, Lake and Biver Vessels. 

The length of tho shift in the shipping industry is im- 
portant from an international as well as a domestic standpoint. 
In this industry competition between nations is pronounced. 
Therefore, unsatisfactory labor requirements might seriously 
interfere with the shipping industry of the country in which 
they exist. Therefore, it is especially important that the facts 
regarding the operation of the American merchant marine 
and the foreign merchant marines be understood. 

The crews of vessels may be divided into licensed deck 
and engine officers, unlicensed deck and engine crews, and 
employees of the steward^s department. All but the last 
named department are primarily continuous-service depart- 
ments. The work of the stewards extends over a large part 
of the day, but the duties are so arranged that each employee 
works not more than about ten hours. 

The minimum number of licensed deck and engine officers 
on an American vessel is fixed by law or by the Steamboat 
Inspection Service. Practically no ocean-going vessel of 
consequence is allowed to sail without three deck officers and 
three engineers, in addition to the master and chief engineer. 
This means that so far as officers are concerned the laws and 
regulations prescribe the three-watch system. However, the 
watches are not eiglit hours but are four hours on and eight 



hours off. The evening or dog watches are a succession of 
two two-hour watches which result in the men being on a 
different watch each day. 

The laws applying to the Great Lakes are not so stringent 
as those for the ocean. Many lake vessels carry only two 
assistant engineers. In fact, a third assistant engineer is an 
exception. If the chief engineer does not stand watch that 
means a two-watch system for lake engineers. Also on 
ocean-going towboats, of which there are a considerable num- 
ber employed in the coal trade from Norfolk north, there are 
practically never more than two engineers, including the 
chief. That means a two-watch system also. However, as 
towboats are in port a great deal, at which time the crew has 
little to do, a two-watch system is not a cause for grievance. 
On the Gulf coast, where the towboats are larger, engineers 
are on three watches. Engineers on steamboats on interior 
rivers are on two watches. But the boats are not large and 
the duties are not heavy. The marine engineers^ union does 
not regard the two-watch system on ocean-going towboats or 
river boats as objectionable. The union is opposed to the 
two-watch system for engineers on the Great Lakes. 

The ocean-going vessels of foreign nations have their 
licensed officers on three watches. British vessels are apt to 
carry more rather than fewer officers than American vessels. 

The unlicensed crew on American vessels, composed of 
firemen, oilers, water tenders, and coal passers,^ are on a 
three-watch system by law. This is also the general practice 
on vessels of foreign nations. Because of the heat and hard 
work the three-watch system for these men is accepted as a 
proper arrangement. 

It is with respect to the deck crew or the sailors that the 
issue of a two-watch versus a three-watch system arises. The 
traditional method of organizing the deck crew was by the 

*Coal passers not included in the laws. 



i i 

I 1 



watch-and-watch system. The sailors were divided into two 
squads who relieved each other at regular intervals, ordi- 
narily four hours apart throughout the day and night. With 
the advent of the steamship there developed a tendency to 
put as many of the deck crew as possible on day-work, 
leaving only the two positions of helmsman and lookout to be 
filled at night. This mixed system, half day-work and half 
a watch system, is known as the Kalashi watch system. 

Ship owners in this country generally prefer the Kalashi 
watch system, as it means more men at work in the daytime, 
when conditions are favorable for working. The sailors 
prefer it because they like to work by day and sleep by 
night. The general movement in this country has conse- 
quently been in the direction of the adoption of this system. 
England, however, operates its shipping on the watch-and- 
watch system.* , 

Prior to the War, sailors on American vessels sailing 
from Atlantic or Gulf ports were on the watch-and-watch 
system, which gave a total of twelve hours of watch duty a 
day.' This was in accord with the general practice among 
all nations except in the cases Of France, Australia and New 
Zealand, whose vessels were on three watches. On the 
Pacific Coast a three-watch system prevailed for such mem- 
bers of the deck crew as were not on day duty only. In 1919, 
the Pacific Coast plan was adopted by ship owners and sea-1 
men on the Atlantic and Gulf. By the terms of this agree- 
men three men were to perform the duties of helmsmen, three 
the duties of lookout, and the rest were to work eight hours 

* Arguments against the Kalashi watch system are that it means a 
minimum of men on duty at night. In case of emergency the men must 
rush on deck with their eyes as yet unaccustomed to the darkness. The 
system, furthermore, has the disadvantage of keeping a part of the 
sailors, the day-workers, continually on less skilled work, and thus 
hindering that all-around development of skill on the part of all members 
of the crew which would result if all the men were to take turns at 
positions connected with the actual navigation of the vessel. 

" The Kalashi watch system had already become common. 


a day. During favorable weather the lookout was to do some 
deck work in the daytime. 

Largely because of this last provision, the three-watch 
system was put into effect without change in total manning. 
It was claimed that the system, except on the smaller ships, 
would mean no increase in the number of sailors. The 
manning schedules for Shipping Board vessels did require 
an increase, but the increase was much less than 50 per cent. 
The marine superintendent of one of the large and successful 
American shipping companies reported that in the case of 
this company no increase in manning resulted from changing 
to three watches, but there was less work done while at sea 
and more left to be done when in port. 

The mixed system of three watches and day work was 
one of the terms of settlement of the marine strike in 1919. 
The men lost the marine strike in 1921 and one of the results 
was the annulment of the agreement respecting three 
watches. The company referred to above now has its day 
men on nine hours instead of eight and the two-watch system 
is reestablished for helmsman and lookout. Although the 
three-watch system had not increased the size of the crew 
the return to two watches and nine-hour day work reduced 
the deck crew from eleven to ten men. Although the total 
force was cut by one man, the number of men assigned to 
upkeep and repair work was increased by one. This fact, 
together with the lengthening of the work day from eight 
to nine hours increased by one-fourth the amount of labor 
available for repairs. The lengthening of hours described 
applied to freight ships. At the time, the three-watch system 
was retained on passenger ships, but of late there has been 
further development in the direction of two watches. 

The three-watch system was neverVestablished for sailors 
by the principal carriers on the Great Lakes. The two- 
watch system has been the rule. 



Radio operators on American vessels are on a two-watch 
system. However, the radio operator does not have a great 
deal to do. On many vessels there is only one operator. 

The changes made during the last few years from two to 
three watches and from three watches back to two have 
afiFected only a few men aboard any one ship^. Out of a total 
crew of about forty sailors only six were a^ected by the 
change to the three-watch system and four by the return to 
the two-watch system. 

The tendency on the seas is towards three watches. Italy 
and France are said to have their deck departments on that 
basis, and England has been tending that way. Some of the 
American union leaders are not eager for three watches, but 
the sailors strongly favor it. 

In recent years there has been little difference between 
the manning scales on American and foreign vessels. In 
some cases the British have larger crews. Nor do American 
vessels operate under a handicap in the matter of food and 
wages. The food on many European vessels will compare 
favorably with that on American vessels. There is today 
very little difference in the wages of unlicensed men. 
Licensed officers receive considerably more on American 
vessels. But wages usually do not amount to 10 per cent, of 
the cost of operating a ship. The question of watches is after 
all of subordinate importance. The needs are: 

1. The development of skilled, resourceful management. 

2. The establishment of such conditions as will secure 

a high type of seamen. 


The loading and unloading of ships can be profitably 
done by day and night. It is advisable to use both day and 
night in order that the ships may quickly start on the return 



journey. But continuous loading and unloading is handi- 
capped by excessive wage differentials for work done after 
6 p. M. and before 7 a. m. Continuous operation is further 
impaired by the retention of a very inadequate and obsolete 
employment system. Men are reemployed every day, some- 
times twice a day. This produces either a surplus or a 
scarcity of labor at different points. It increases the number 
of men needed in the business. Notwithstanding these con- 
ditions many of the leading steamship companies believe that 
it pays to load continuously. Irregular and long hours are 
followed by periods of no work. 


Fishing vessels work unlimited hours during the fishing 
season. This is inherent in the nature of the business and 
cannot be easily remedied. 


Steam Railroads. 

In a sense the railroads constitute one of the largest 
continuous-industries. But the situation is different in so 
many respects from ordinary continuous-industries, that it 
is better to think of them simply as containing elements of 

Trains move day and night but the train movement is 
broken up into runs. The equipment may be operated either 
more or less than twenty-four hours. The hours of duty of 
the crews may be equal to or fractions or multiples, of the 
train runs, having no necessary relationship to twenty-four 
hours.* Freight train crews are supposed to be on duty ten 

* Reference is made here not to the law, but to the idea with regard 
to the length of runs in the mind of railroad managements at the time 
of the laying out of division points. Subsequent changes in conditions, 
Buch as the lengthening of trains have, however, so affected running 
time as to lead to great diversity in actual hours of duty. 




hours, but because of delays, they may be on duty sixteen 
hours. Twelve hours is not uncommon. The runs of crews 
on passenger trains are more regular and shorter as r^ards 

The Adamson Act made the nominal hours of service 
eight, but there was a physical difficulty in making the actual 
hours come to this basis as the distance between terminals 
had been designed for ten-hour runs. Little has been done 
under the eight-hour law in changing the hours actually 
worked by train service employees, except that since the 
passage of the Adamson Act, the railroads have constantly 
endeavoted to eliminate delays and improve service, thus 
reducing the length of time on each run. 

The average hours of duty of train service employees of 
the New York Central Railroad during the year IS 20 were 
as follows: 




3166 hours 
3200 hours 
3300 hours 

2500 hours 
2700 hours 
2400 hours 



The average is under ten hours per day. Counting three 
hundred days to a year (for the purpose of making compar- 
ison with other industries), men on freight trains worked 
the equivalent of ten-and-a-half to eleven hours a day ; those 
on passenger trains from eight to nine hours. The railroad 
managements state that men prefer the longer runs, which of 
course, bring the larger pay. The managements consulted 
thought that there was pio connection between the length of 
run and accidents. 




The really continuous work of a railroad is the mainte- 
nance of the railroad equipment and service by: 

Crossing guards, and 
Roundhouse men. 

By legal enactment tel^raphers who handle messages 
covering the movement of trains have been on eight-hour 
shifts since 1907. Dispatch offices and signal towers are 
usually operated continuously and on three shifts. 

The more important railroad stations are open twenty-four 
hours a day. These are on three eight-hour shifts. Stations 
open part of the day, if the period is long enough for two 
shifts, operate on two eight-hour shifts. Small stations are 
served by one man which necessitates his being on duty 
longer than eight hours,^ sometimes twelve hours. A twelve- 
hour day, however, is rare. A decision of the Railroad Labor 
Board, January, 1922, restored the nine-hour day for rail- 
road clerks, freight handlers, and express and station em- 
ployees. The award also permitted the establishment of split 
tricks. This will have an important influence on hours where 
the station is open for less than twenty-four hours. 

On one of the leading East and West lines prior to 1917 
switchmen were on twelve-hour shifts. Since that date they 
have been on eight-hour shifts. According to the manage- 
ment of a leading western road the yard crews of that road 
are on three shifts in the large terminals. Outlying points 
sometimes have only one crew. The aim is to confine the 
hours of the crew to eight ; but sometimes, where there is only 
one crew they work ten, eleven, or twelve hours. 

In most cases crossing men were on twelve hours, but 
under the Railroad Administration they were put on eight- 



II n II I I III .1 1 i mw iii n- 




hour shifts and have remained on that basis except in a few 
cases where they are on nine hours. Some crossings are not 
guarded twenty-four hours and some not a multiple of eight 
hours. In such cases, and in cases where there are nine-hour 
shifts the men are change^ from one crossing to another. 
Occasionally where only one man is needed during the day 
he is on duty ten or eleven hours. 

Roundhouse men were formerly on two twelve-hour or 
two ten-hour shifts.' They are now on three eight-hour shifts. 

The change from twelve* to eight hours for switching 
gangs, crossing men, roundhouse men and other classes is the 
result of legislation or administrative rulings effected during 
the last five years. At first, with these as with the trainmen, 
the eight-hour day was a basis used in determining when 
overtime should begin. But in time the railroads proceeded 
vigorously to place all the men they could on eight hours so 
as to escape overtime pay. 

The change from a basic to an actual eight-hour day has 
been well received by the employees," notwithstanding the 
fact that it meant more than a pro rata reduction in pay. 

As to the management, though the change to three shifts 
did not in itself increase expenses, because of the reduction in 
the earnings of employees, yet the increase in wages which 
occurred in the same general period focused the attention of 
railroad managers on the" desirability of dispensing with labor 
wherever possible. 

Railway shops operate one eight-hour shift. During busy 
seasons two eight-hour shifts are employed. In periods of 
great demand they operate on three eight-hour shifts. 

Street Railways^ 

The work of conductors and motormen on street railways 

^s not continuous, although it is distributed over a long day. 

The runs for an individual employee range from eight to 


eleven-and-a-half hours in length, averaging not much more 
than nine hours. This is true even in those sections of the 
country where the twelve-hour day is common. In case of 
split runs, there is usually a maximum spread which is not 
apt to be over fourteen hours, •^ 




Telegraph Compamies. 

The telegraph industry offers no example of long hours, 
unless it might be in some subordinate branches of the service, 
or the special telegraphic serviqes maintained by private busi- 
ness organizations. 

The Western Union land lines and cable system employ 
about 52,000 men and women, the men constituting 70 per 
cent, of the total force. In May, 1917, the Western Union 
land lines changed from a system under which the night 
tricks had been seven-and-a-half hours and the day tricks nine 
hours to an eight-hour day. Not all of its operators change 
shifts at the same hour. They are taken on and off at such 
hours as will correlate the number of operators with the 
demand for telegraph service. In a few cases employees work 
on split tricks. 

The Western Union cable service also observes the eight- 
hour day. In the smaller land line offices, where the work is 
usually performed by one operator, the tour of duty may be 
as long as ten hours. In such cases the work of the operator 
consists chiefly in "readiness to serve" as the work of the 
entire day can be done within an hour of steady application. 
As the time required to go to and from work is usually very 
short in the small towns, the longer hours of duty 4o not give 
the employee any less time at home than in the case of the 
city worker. 

The management believes that the eight-hour shift has 





i , 


m^^mii^ .'^ ■ ■ ■■ I r 11 I * 


been advantageous both to the company and to the employees. 
Overtime and Sunday work are kept at a minimum, as unde- 
sirable from every point of view. The company has provided 
recreation rooms for its women employees, thus enabling 
them to use their leisure hours to advantage. 

Telephone Companies, 

The Bell Telephone system has no long shifts. As in 
the case of the Western Union, its operators do not all 
change shifts at the same hours, but are taken on and off at 
such hours as will correlate the number of operators with the 
demand for telephone service. The force after midnight is 
about 7 or 8 per cent, of the total. 

The usual arrangement is for an operator to serve from 
seven to eight hours per shift. In case of split tricks the 
trick is so divided as to give the^ operator sufficient time off 
to be of use to him. The night shift is on the exchange from 
10 in the evening (9 p. m. in some cities) until 7 in the morn- 
ing. But each operator has a one- or two-hour lunch period 
part of which many operators use for naps. An object in 
arranging the night work in this manner is to make it un- 
necessary for operators to go to and from work late at night. 
Of the 220,000 regular employees of the Bell system, 
133,000 are in the traffic department and 60,000 in the plant 
department. Of the traffic employees 116,000 are female 
operating employees in the central offices. 

The employees in the plant department of the Bell system 
are engaged in both construction and maintenance work. The 
men who are employed outside of the central office exchanges 
are on regular day time assignments, except in emergencies 
(storms, etc.). The maintenance of the central offices involves 
some continuous service, but the number of men employed 
at night is relatively small. Employment beyond the regular 
day shifts is for the moat part in late evening shifts which 



end before midnight. From midnight until the morning 
shift the number of plant employees on duty is practically 
negligible (only caretakers and in the large exchanges a few 
held for emergency). Central office men are in practically 
all cases on eight-hour shifts, coming and going at such hours 
as will best take care of the peak loads. 

The practice described for the traffic and maintenance 
divisions is followed in both the large and small exchanges 
of the Bell system in all parts of the country. Among the 
"independents" who have a proportionately greater number 
of rural lines, there may be exchanges which work longer 
hours. That long hours have existed is indicated by the fact 
that of three hundred and forty telegraph and telephone com- 
panies which reported to the Ohio Industrial Commission in 
1915, fourteen reported a working week of seventy-two hours 
or over. By 1919 this number had been reduced to one com- 
pany out of three hundred and sixty; 

The Postal Service, 

The mail carrier works by day only. In the evening there 
is a small force of collectors (often substitutes or auxiliaries 
who do not come under the law regulating the hours of post 
office employees), but they are usually on duty for only a 
few hours. - , 

The distribution of the mails in city offices is a continuous 
operation. In 1921, there were in the United States about 
54,000 post-office clerks of whom approximately three-fourths 
were engaged in the distribution of mail. The eight-hour 
law of 1912 limits the hours of a post-office clerk to eight 
with a maximum spread of ten hours. The shifts of the 
clerks are so arranged that there is more or less overlapping 
at certain hours. The shifts do not rotate, except in a few 
offices where there is a local custom to that effect. 

Most of the distributing clerks in a city office change 







shifts at approximately midnight, 8 a. m. and 4 p. m. As 
the heaviest work is between 5 and 9 p. m. the largest num- 
ber of clerks is on duty at that time. Out of two hundred 
clerks, it would be found that: 

1. From 110 to 125 clerks are on duty from 4 p? ic to 


2. From 18 to 20 clerks on duty from midnight to 8 a. M, 

3. From 65 to 70 clerks on duty from 8 a. m. to 4 p. m. 

In addition to the regular distributing clerks a force of 
auxiliary workers often works four hours during the evening. 
These men may be employed elsewhere during the day. 
Sometimes they are men who have not yet been admitted tu 
the civil service.* They give flexibility to the force and take 
care of the evening peak load. 

The motor vehicle corps is bound by the rule of eight 
hours within ten. The arrangement of hours varies with 
the locality. 

Although before 1912 no law regulated the hours of post- 
office employees, the working time was usually about eight 
hours. An employee of more than twenty years^ experience 
in the service did not know of a time when there had been 
twelve-hour shifts. 

The railway mail service maintains in cities terminal 
railway post offices which are distinct from the city offices, 
and where the work is more evenly continuous throughout 
the day and night. The terminal railway post-office clerks, 
about 3,000. in number, fall roughly into three groups. They 
work respectively between midnight and 8 a. m. ; between 
8 A. M. and 4 p. m. ; and 4 p. m. and midnight. 


■This is true only when there are no eligibles tm the civil service 
register. When available, all auxiliaries or substitutes must be employed 
from the civil service eligible list. 



The men who transfer the mails from place to place are 
on the same shift basis as are the mail clerks. 

There are about 14,000 or 15,000 railway mail clerks who 
sort mail on the trains. The hours of these men are not fixed 
by law, except that they must not work more than the equiva- 
lent of three hundred and six days of eight hours each per 
year, including, as noted below, the time necessary for study. 

The working hours are arranged on many different plans, 
in accordance with train schedules and length of trips. In 
general, each clerk works for about a week, during which he 
is on the road most of the time. He is then off for perhaps 
a week. The total time of a one-way trip is apt to be ten or 
twelve hours. It may be as much as fourteen or sixteen hours. 
The clerk has considerable studying to do, which can be done 
between tours or on his run, between towns, and for which he 

is given credit. 

If the route and train schedules are such that the mail 
clerk can repeat his first day's trip on the third and again 
on the fifth day, and his second day's return trip on the 
fourth and again on the sixth day, then two c^ews working 
simultaneously can man the route. As two other crews would 
be required during the week the first two crews are off, this 
would make a four-crew route. Routes vary so much that 
there are also five-crew and three-crew routes. There are 
even two-crew and single-crew routes, as well as those requir- 
ing six and even seven crews. In former times there were 
some nine-crew routes. 

The Express Service. 

The American Railway Express Company has about 
115,000 employees, most of them on day-work. The collec- 
tion of express stops at 5 p. m. and offices close at 6 p. m. 

At large terminals the work is continuous throughout the 
twenty-four hours. In December of 1921 these employees 

' M 


/ ',1 

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'T^:i7»aS ■M.tri'l* 

If ^ 

ll I 



were on an eight-hour day. Prior to the War they had been 
on nine or ten hours, but first, overtime was established for 
work over eight hours, and then the eight-hour day was in- 
staUed in most cases. The volume of work at the terminals 
is less at night than in the daytime. The men come on 
at various hours of the day, the arrangement of hours varying 
according to the train schedules. 

There is no doubt in the minds of either men or manage- 
ment but that express employees like an eight-hour day. 

The express companies have messengers who travel on 
the trains. Their hours are arranged somewhat like those of 
the regular train crews, or of the railway mail clerks. 

Police Department. 

The policing of our cities is among the largest of the 
continuous-industries or activities. New York City has 
11,000 men on its police force. Of this number 9,000 are 
on service that is continuous throughout the twenty-four 

hours. . ^ . ..._ 

Some years ago, police departments m American cities 
were generally on the two-platoon system. This involved 
twelve-hour shifts in some of the cities, but it did not result in 
an average daily sendee of twelve hours. By having a re- 
duced force a part of the day, the average number of hours 
of service of the individual policeman was below twelve 
hours. In Richmond, Virginia, the day was divided into four 
six-hour periods, two at night and two in the daytime. Each 
policeman served one six-hour shift every night. The day 
shifts were provided for by having that one-haH of the men 
who had been on the first night shift divided into two divi- 
sions each of whidh served six hours during the day. By this 
arrangement just one-half as many men were on duty during 
the day as duringthe night. The plan made it possible for 



each policeman to be off duty every other day, though always 
serving half of the night. 

One of the chief objections to the two-platoon system as 
worked in Richmond was that those men who had been on 
duty the six hours from 7 p. m. to 1 a. m., and were in the" 
half that had to serve the next day from 7 a. m. to 1 p. m. had 
only six hours off. If they were delayed in making reports 
and getting home, they had only a short interval for rest in a 
period of patrol service extending practically over eighteen 

This same system of six-hour shifts with every other day 
off during the daytime, was formerly used in New York City, 
except that the hours of changing squads were 6 p. m.^ mid- 
night, 6 A. M. and noon. 

The two-platoon system has been abandoned in all the 
cities concerning which inquiries were made. In some cities, 
an effort is still made to enlarge the police force during cer- 
tain hours of the day, but this is usually accomplished by 
having three nine-hour or three ten-hour shifts, so arranged 
that the overlap comes when the extra protection is desired. 
Thus Pittsburgh is on a three nine-hour platoon system with 
two platoons on duty between 9 and 12 p. m. In New York 
the number of officers on patrol duty is now constant through- 
out the twenty-four hours. The patrols change at midnight, 
8 A. M. and 4 p. m? ^ 

New York operates under a ten-squud system, as shown 
by Table 12. The purpose in having ten squads, instead of 
nine, is to provide one day off in seven for the patrolmen. 
Under this system one of the ten squads is always taking an 
extra sixteen hours off. Of the nine squads not having a day 
off, three are always on duty simultaneously. Each day one 
of the three squads takes only four hours off and then reports 
for eight hours reserve duty, after which the men have four 
hours off before returning to patrol duty. Each squad thus 




( < 


t ■ 

f» ^ 



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loses half its time off once every three days; but at such 
times, the men are held on reserve at the station house and, 
except in emergencies, may sleep. During a week each 
patrohnan works six eight-hour shifts on patrol duty, and is 
on reserve duty two eight-hour shifts. After six days of 
service the patrohnan is off a total of thirty-two hours. There 
is always one squad on reserve duty. 

The police authorities consulted have been unanimous in 
their judgment that the eight-hour shift for patrohnen is 
better than the longer hours formerly worked. The Richmond 
authorities state that it works "one hundred per cent." better. 
It is the belief of the New York authorities that the two- 
platoon system with the daylight hours off every other day is 
not right for the men. Police authorities place a low value 
on a patrolman who serves much more than eight hours a day. 

This does not mean that the authorities necessarily favor 
an eight-hour day for men who are not on shift duty. The 
traffic men in New York are on duty nine hours with an 
hour off during the day. Detectives usually work more than 

eight hours per day. 

The twelve-hour day is to be found in the auxiliary serv- 
ice of some police departments. The park police in a Dela- 
ware city are on twelve-hour shifts. 

Fire Department 

Fire departments formerly operated without any change 
of personnel except for a day off now and then and a few 
hours off for meals. Now they generally operate on the two- 
platoon system. The squad off duty is expected in case of 
fire to report so that they will be available in case of a second 
alarm. Under the two-platoon system the men take their 
meals on their own time, which eliminates a reduction of 
the force at such* periods. 










' ,» 




1 1 




: 5 




If full protection is to be given, it is necessary to have 
larger crews under a two-platoon system than under the 
twenty-four hour system. Richmond added forty-two fire- 
men (which made the new force consist of three hundred and 
twelve men) when it changed to two platoons in November, 
1921. Formerly the men had one day off in three. Out of 
an engine company of twelve men, four would always be off. 
Of the other eight, one or two would perhaps be off for a 
meal, leaving six or seven at the fire stations. In adopting 
the two-platoon system it was only necessary to increase an 
engine crew of twelve to fourteen to insure seven men always 

being present. 

Under the two-platoon system the day shift is usually 
shorter than the night shift. In New York the day men serve 
nine hours and the night men fifteen hours. In some other 
cities there is not so great a difference in the length of the 

Some fire departments are run on a system of twenty-four 
hours on and twenty-four hours off. This is sometimes popu- 
lar with the men, as it enables them to work elsewhere during 
their twenty-four hours off. 

Cleveland for a time operated on a three-platoon system. 
In April, 1921, it changed back to two platoons, under a sys- 
tem of twenty-four hours on and twenty-four hours off. 


Watchmen, as a rule, are on twelve-hour shifts. This is 
true of three-shift plants as well as of two-shift plants. 

Some companies have put their watchmen as well as all 
other employees on three shifts. Some of these have been 
noted. The New York Shipbuilding Company saw no rea- 
son for its one hundred and eighty watchmen working twelve- 
hour shifts when everyone else in its plant was on eight hours. 
Ford's watchmen' are on eight hours. When the Washburn 



Crosby Company changed its watchmen to eight-hour shifts 
they realized a more effective service. The shortening of 
shifts was regarded as an important factor that contributed 
to the improvement. An officer of this company held that a 
more vigorous type of man should be drawn into watch duty, 
younger men who would be able to cope with marauders. 

The superintendent of a Philadelphia plant, whose 
watchmen were on twelve-hour shifts, thought it was a mis- 
take. He held that watchmen perform as important a serv- 
ice as other employees. 

An experienced fire insurance man in New York did not 
regard the twelve-hour watchman as a cause of increased fire 
risk. The insurance rules all contemplate twelvehour shifts. 
Police officers, on the other hand, take quite a different view. 
They do not think that watchmen any more than policemen 
are going to be efficient on twelve-hour turns. 



In the large and moderate sized hotels the hours of the 
employees are usually reasonable. The day force works ten 

hours or less. 

The service of bellboys, elevator men, and hotel clerks 
must extend over a longer period. A frequently used device 
is a long day and a short day. That is one day the working 
hours are from 7 to 12 in the morning, and from 6 to 11 in 
the evening, or ten hours altogether, and the next day from 
noon to 6 p. m. or six hours. 

The regular hours of waiters and others connected with 
the dining-room service in New York hotels are reasonable. 
But it is said that there is a good deal of overtime because of 
banquets which often necessitate long hours. There is no 
adequate provision for days off. 


Jd! V 

,t|l f 



Engineers and firemen in hotels work on from eight-hour 
to ten-hour shifts. 

In small hotels, the situation is quite different. The 
investigation disclosed various small hotels where those in 
charge worked twelve-hour shifts. In 1919, about 10 per 
cent, of the three hundred hotels in Ohio reported that the 
full-time working week for their employees was seventy-two 
hours or over. In 1913, the union rules for hotel waiters in 
New York State called for twelve hours. 


Hospital work involves continuous service. In 1913, the 
union rules for Buffalo hospital employees specified eighty- 
four hours a week. A report made in 1921 by a hospital in 
Buffalo showed that nine-tenths of the employees were on 
two shifts. The other one-tenth, consisting of boiler and 
engine room labor, changed to three shifts during the War. 
Hospitals in other cities concerning which information wae 
received were on twelve-hour shifts. However no special 
study has been made of hospitals. 

Stables and Garages. 

The care of horses has been the occasion for a consider- 
able amount of twelve-hour shift-work. Ten per cent, of the 
Ohio companies engaged in "cartage (drayage) and storage, 
including livery stables" in 1915 reported a working week of 
seventy-two hours or over. In 1919, the proportion was four- 
teen companies out of three hundred and thirty-one. Stable- 
men for bakeries and other concerns engaged in retail de- 
livery have often been on twelve-hour shifts. Statistics indi- 
cate that there is a certain amount of twelve-hour work about 


Delivery Men, Chauffeurs. 

In Buffalo in 1913 the union rules for ice drivers, bag- 
gage transfer men, and chauffeurs called for a twelve-hour 


The hours of labor in most of the restaurants are short, 
because of the employment of women in large numbers, and 
the fact that the number of hours per day that women may 
work is in many states limited by law. However, in the typi- 
cal restaurant long hours are not necessary. By arranging 
split tricks or shifts the day can easily be divided into work 
periods of moderate length. 

In small restaurants open late at night, the employees 
are often on duty twelve hours. In Ohio, forty-seven of the 
one hundred and forty-eight restaurants reporting in 1915 
gave their working week as seventy-two hours or over. In 
1919, there were fifty-two out of a total of four hundred and 
seven. In many of these restaurants the seven-day week is 
associated with the twelve-hour day. 

Retail Stores. 

There are types of retail stores, as drug stores, soda foun- 
tains, and small shops which are open for twenty-four hours, 
or until late at night. There is less standardization of hours 
in this group than in any of the industries investigated. It 
would require a very detailed investigation to determine the 
proportion of employees on long and on short shifts. How- 
ever, it is known that one or more of the men in these stores 
often work eleven or twelve hours per day, or even longer. 

In 1915, out of 2,459 Ohio stores reporting to the Indus- 
trial Commission as to the hours of work per week, one hun- 
dred and thirteen reported a working week of seventy-two 


, t' 





m ( 



hours or over. In 1919 seventy stores out of 4,268 reported 
a seventy-two-hour week. The very small stores (employing 
less than five persons) do not report. 

The 1913 rules for Buffalo unions specified a twelve- 
hour day for grocery store employees, meat cutters, and cloth- 
ing salesmen. 

Other Service, 

Statistics indicate that there is some twelve-hour work 
among the employees of theaters, amusement parks, bowling 
alleys, barber shops, and undertaking establishments. 





Points to Be Observed. 

The method followed in changing from two to three-shift 
operation is of the utmost importance. One of the outstand- 
ing facts developed by this survey has been the wide varia- 
tion in the results that have followed the change from two 
to three shifts. This variation is more largely due to the 
methods followed than to other circumstances.* 

If greater efficiency is to result from changing from two 
to three-shift operation several cardinal points must be ob- 
served. They are: 

1. Whether the men do more work per hour on an eight- 

hour shift than on a twelve-hour shift depends upon 
how they feel about the change. How they feel 
about it depends in considerable part upon the man- 
agement's viewing things from the employees* 
standpoint and showing them how they will benefit 
by increasing their efficiency in return for shorter 

2. The management must plan so that the employees will 

have an opportunity to perform more and better 
service on the shorter shift. This involves setting 

*This subject is fully discussed in a separate monograph prepared 
by the present investigator entitled '*The Technique of Changing from 
the Two-shift to the Three-shift system in the Steel Industry" proof 
sheets for which were issued in 1922 by the Cabot Fund Trustees. See 
also Mr. Bradley Stoughton's report in Part III of this volume. 


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definite scHedules of work for each day; the estah- 
lishment of high standards of performance for eight 
hours' work; the standardization of equipment and 
its maintenance ; in short a close production control. 
These things done and cooperation obtained, favor- 
able results are sure to follow. 
8. The establishment of a permanent differential of 60 
per cent, or thereabouts between the wages of shift- 
and of day-workers should be guarded against. Per- 
haps the most serious difficulty in changing from 
two to three shifts is the severity of the shock that 
it may give to individual incomes, or, if this is 
avoided, the increase in labor costs that may follow. 
It is only fair to make an adjustment in the wages 
of the twelve-hour shift-workers, but it should be 
done in such a way as not to establish a permanent 
vested interest in favor of one class of employees. 
4. The time at which the change is to be made, and the 
method used as related to the special circumstances 
prevailing at the time are important factors. 

o. When the general level of wages is advancing is an 
opportune time to change from a two- to a three- 
shift system, for then the shortening of hours can 
be made in lieu of wage advances. It may be pos- 
sible to give the men as much for eight as for twelve 
hours' work, a part of this taking the place of a 
wage increase. 

5. If the period is one of reduced employment, more 
men may be employed for shorter hours, or the same 
men given steadier employment for shorter hours. 
Thus the eight-hour shift may be attained without 
much cost, and without the men suffering more than 
they would have to any way, because of periods of 





c. If the period is one of stable wages and employ- 
ment, then the practicable thing to do is to make an 
effort to secure greater efficiency, and out of in- 
creased profits pay the men enough more per hour 
to make the change to shorter shifts an easy and 
satisfactory one. 

In some plants or operations the efficiency has been high 
on the twelve-hour shift and sometimes it is difficult to intro- 
duce high standards for the eight-hour shift, but a faithful 
observance of the factors mentioned will mean substantial in- 
crease in efficiency. If they are not observed the results will 
be disappointing. 

Hov/rs for Day-Workers Associated with Shift-Workers. 

This investigation has had to do with the twelve-hour 
versus the eight-hour shift and not the nine- or ten-hour versus 
the eight-hour day. However, the question may arise as to 
whether day-workers should be on an eight-hour day in line 
with the shift-workers, or on a nine- or ten-hour day. The in- 
vestigation has shown that there is no difficulty in maintain- 
ing day-workers on nine or ten hours and shift-workers on 
eight hours, unless there is an objection to a nine- or ten-hour 
day in itself. The fact that shift-workers have been placed 
on eight hours does not of itself necessitate putting the day- 
workers on eight hours. 

The Seven-Day Week. 

On continuous work that must be maintained seven days 
a week the question arises as to whether three-shift workers 
should be relieved one day per week. When the length of 
the shift is eight hours the shift-workers have a shorter day 
than eight-hour day workers, since they take at least one meal 
period within their eight hours of duty. The system of rotat- 
ing shifts is usually so arranged as to lengthen hours at some 





week ends, and give the men longer time ofF at other week 
ends. By this means shift-workers are practically off duty 
one or two Sundays in three. Therefore, good argument can 
he advanced against introducing a six-day week on shift- 
work. As a rule the day off could not he on Sunday hut 
on some week day. Many would prefer to work on the week 

However, many of the continuous-industries are providing 
one day off in seven, although the men are on an eight-hour 
shift. As a rule the arrangement gives satisfaction. The 
companies are pleased with it. One of the steel companies, 
which is on two shifts but a six-day week, has found that its 
men have so adapted their hahits to having a week-day off, 
that they now prefer a week-day to Sunday. 

On the other hand, another steel company, when it 
changed from two to three shifts, at the request of its em- 
ployees, adopted a seven-day week. Previously its practice 
was a six-day week. 

Rotation of Shifts. 

Many plants rotate shifts every week. Some believe that 
it would be better if the shifts were rotated every two weeks 
or a month, as the habits of the men would not be changed 
BO often. Those plants that employ women extensively do 
not rotate shifts. 

An advantage of the three-shift system on seven-day work 
is that it obviates the necessity of a twenty-four hour turn or 
two eighteen-hour turns when shifts rotate. Sometimes under 
the three-shift system one of the squads of men works a six- 
teen-hour turn. But there is no need of this. It is preferable 
to have part of the men report after an absence of only eight 
hours and serve a second eight-hour shift, rather than to have 
a sixteen-hour turn. There are innumerable arrangements 
which are possible, as two twelve-hour shifts, or even three 
turns of ten and two-thirds hours each. 



This concluding chapter is a summary discussion based 
upon the entire investigation. It presents through a series 
of questions and answers the problem of the twelve-hour shift 
in American industry. 

1. What is the extent of continuous work in American 

industry ? 

There are upwards of forty continuous-industries operat- 
ing more or less completely upon a shift-system. They em- 
ploy between 500,000 and 1,000,000 wage-earners on shift- 
work. Their families constitute from 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 
persons who are dependent upon earnings from shift-work. 

There have been (prior to the late depression) probably 
300,000 wage earners working on twelve-hour shifts. They 
and their families number more than 1,200,000 persons. 

2. What are the alternatives to the twelve-hour shift? 

The logical alternative to the two twelve-hour shift-system 
is the three eight-hour shift-system, and this is the usual 
procedure. Nevertheless other shift-systems have been re- 
sorted to in a limited way in changing from the twelve-hour 
shift. Among these are: 

a. Operation for a period shorter than twenty-four 
hours in each calendar day, the cessation of work 


■ If 


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, I 







for from two to four hours permitting the estab- 
lishment of two shifts of ten or eleven hours each. 
As examples: 

Rolling mills may run two ten-hour shifts. 
Tube mills run twenty-two hours out of twenty- 
four. Packing in flour mills is usually on two ten- 
hour shifts. 

&. Arranging what is nominally a twelve-hour shift 
80 that the actual work can be completed in ten or 
eleven hours. As examples : 

Ice pullers sometimes finish their work in ten to 
eleven hours; firemen in brick and lime plants in 
eleven hours. 

C. Arranging overlapping shifts, thus securing three 
nine-hour or three ten-hour shifts in twenty-four 

d. Arranging nine and ten-hour shifts on a five-shift 
plan. As an example — Procter & Gamble Com- 
pany, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

3. Are there technical diflSculties in changing from two- 
shift operation? 

In the overwhelming majority of the plants which have 
changed from two- to three-shift operation no technical diffi- 
culties have been encountered. 

There is usually no relationship between the duration of 
the process and the length of the shift, whether the latter is 
twelve hours long or a shorter period. 

In a very few industries such as making glass, burning 
brick, or making special grades of paper some managers (but 
by no means all) have believed that more uniform results 
can be obtained by having two instead of three men superin- 
tend the making of a batch or lot. 




The seeming disadvantage of having three men instead of 
two responsible for a given product, or process, is overcome 
by standardizing procedure and establishing control through 
precision instruments. 

It takes more careful management, however, to see that 
three men do not between them dodge the responsibility for 
the proper care of equipment. 

4. What are the factors to be considered in changing 
from two-shift to three-shift operation ? 

a. The readiness or unreadiness of the men to do more 
work per hour under the shorter shift. 

b. The responsibility of management as expressed in 
planning, supervision and control, which should be 
of a higher quality than usually prevails under 
two-shift operation. 

c. The fluctuation in individual earnings and labor 


d. General industrial and economic conditions, as de- 
termining the time of making the change. 

6. The relationship of work periods for shift-workers 

and for day-workers. 
/. The relationship of wage-rates for shift-workers and 

for day-workers 
g. The number of working days in a week. 
h. The rotation of shifts. 

6. How does the change from two-shift to three-shift 
operation affect the number of shift-workers ? 

It is not possible to give an inclusive answer to this ques- 
tion because of the variations in conditions. In many plants 
the number of shift-workers has increased in proportion to 
the increase in the number of shifts. In other plants the num- 





i i\ 

. ,11 

' V 




ber of shift-workers has remained substantially constant when 
changing from two-shift to three-shift operation. 

The former outcome was common among plants which 
went to three shifts during the War, and it inevitably results 
when the management gives no thought to how three shifts 
will be run. 

Under normal labor conditions most plants should be able 
to introduce a third shift by adding 35 per cent, to the num- 
ber of shift men. 

An able management, having the co-operation of its em- 
ployees, can often do very much better. For example : 

The Charles Warner Company put its lime kilns on 
three shifts with no increase in the number of shift men. 

The W Brick Company obtained more service 

from its kiln firemen in eight hours than previously in 

The American Rolling Mill Company put its bloom- 
ing and bar mills on three shifts with an increase in per- 
sonnel of but 11 per cent., its open-hearth department 
with an increase of but 15 per cent. 

6. What is the effect of eight-hour as compared with 
twelve-hour shift operation on the quantity and 
quality of production, absenteeism, labor turnover 
and industrial accidents? 

It is impossible to give average quantitative results for 
any industry in which a majority of the plants have changed 
to a three-shift basis of operation but evidence is available to 
show what is attainable under good management and when 
the cooperation of labor has been secured. 

The report shows that in practically every major con- 
tinuous-industry, there are plants which have increased the 




quantity of production per man up to as much as 25 per cent. 
In a few exceptional cases the increase has been much higher. 

For example: 

The output of ore per man in the Tennessee Copper Com- 
pany increased from 30.49 tons per day to 35.42, an increase 
of 16 per cent, in spite of the reduction in hours. 

The efficiency of the men at the Bayonne refining plant 
of the International Nickel Company increased approxi- 
mately 20 per cent 

The average number of man-hours to produce one barrel 
of cement in fifty-one plants operating on two shifts is 1.035. 
The corresponding average for twenty-two plants operating 
on three shifts is 0.823 or a decrease in the number of man- 
hours per barrel of 21 per cent. The corresponding average 
for thirteen plants working partly on two shifts and partly 
on three shifts is 0.756 man-hours per barrel or a reduction 
from the two-shift group record of 27 per cent. 

In one department of the Texas Portland Cement Com- 
pany the increase in the number of barrels of cement ground 
per day was from 4,000 to 5,500 or 37.5 per cent 

In a Louisville flour mill the output was increased 
100,000 barrels per year or 30 per cent. 

In the sulphuric-acid plant of the Tennessee Copper Com- 
pany the pre-war two-shift standard production of 0.372 ton 
of acid per man per day increased under the three-shift sys- 
tem to 0.878 ton of acid per man per day or an increase of 
130 per cent. This took place during a period of eight years 
and there had been a number of improvements in the plant 
and process. From May to December, 1921, the cost of acid 
making was reduced 43 per cent. 

It is impossible to give definite quantitative results re- 
garding improvements in quality due to the shorter work 
period. The evidence shows that an improvement in the 
quality of production has often followed the reduction in the 







I , 

'-mJ { 


length of shifts. In many cases, however, such improvement 
has not been noted. 

On no point has there been more imanimity of evidence 
than that the change from two to three shifts practically al- 
ways reduces absenteeism and labor turnover, and in a 
marked degree. 

The evidence as regards accidents is inconclusive. There 
may be fewer accidents to process and equipment, but no 
correlation has been found between reduction in hours and 
reduction in personal injuries. 

7. How do wage-rates on eight-hour shift operation com- 

pare with wage-rates on twelve-hour shift operation ? 

In changing to three-shifts hourly wage rates are most 
commonly increased about 20 or 25 per cent. 

If wages are rapidly rising, the increase may be 50 per 
cent, (making daily earnings for eight hours equal to those 
previously paid for twelve hours). But only part of this 
increase should be attributed to the shortening of hours. If 
wages are going down, or if there is unemployment, the day 
may be reduced to eight hours and the hourly rates left un- 
changed. In general, industries which are newly on three 
shifts pay somewhat higher hourly rates than they would 
pay if they were on two shifts. 

In the long run plants which remain on twelve hours are 
compelled to pay substantially as high rates per hour, that is 
50 per cent, more per day, as their neighbors which are on 
eight-hour shifts. 

8. What is the general opinion of managers of three- 

shift plants regarding three-shift as compared with 
two-shift operation ? 

There is a natural divergence of opinion as to the advan- 



tages and disadvantages of three-shift operation, but the 
weight of the evidence and the most positive statements are 
in favor of three-shift operation. This is evidenced by the 
following testimony: 

In almost all cases of the steel plants reported upon in 
1920 as having changed to three shifts, the managements 
state that considering the intangible as well as the tangible 
factors they were better satisfied with the three-shift than 
with the two-shift operation. 

The manager of a three-shift company whose plant ranks 
among the largest in the industry in 1922 reiterated his feel- 
ing of satisfaction with three-shift operation and added : ^'We 
are strongly opposed to twelve-hour shifts, though not opposed 
to a ten-hour day where conditions seem to make that desir- 
able. We believe that industry in this country can be so con- 
ducted as to permit of eight-hour shifts in continuous-opera- 

The management of the Palmerton, Pennsylvania, plant 
of the New Jersey Zinc Company is of the opinion that their 
costs are lower under the eight-hour system. 

The superintendent of the Tennessee Copper Company is 
positive in attributing the increase in efficiency to the two- 
shift operation. 

The management of a beet sugar company is gratified 
over the results of the three-shift system and feels a satis- 
faction in the greater contentment of the men under im- 
proved working conditions. 

A Philadelphia flour mill superintendent declares there 
is no question but that flour mills can be put on three shifts 
with real financial profit to the mill. 

On the other hand, the superintendent of an Indiana Gas 
plant could not see much difference in the efficiency of the 
men on twelve-hour and eight-hour shifts. 

A Colorado gas company found that three shifts took 


[' I , 


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one-third more shift men than two shifts. It was question- 
able whether quality had improved. 

9. Do employees make good use of the increased hours of 

leisure ? 

The evidence is conclusive that leisure time of four extra 
hours per day is used to good advantage. 

It is spent in gardening, truck farming and in doing odd 
jobs which otherwise would have to be paid for or would not 
be done at all. Or it is used for recreation, for family or 
social life, or for following the individual's personal interests. 
Workmen often require education or experience with the 
value and use of leisure to make them willing to give up 
some daily income in exchange for it 

10. To what extent have plants reverted to two-shift op- 

eration ? 

In the course of the field investigation a few plants re- 
ported having reverted to two-shift operation after a trial 
of the three-shift system. Their proportion to the number 
operating on three shifts is so small as to be negligible. The 
weight of evidence shows that when a plant changes to three- 
shift operation it is very unlikely that it will revert to the 
former systenL 

Part III 



Metallurgical Engineer; Formerly Assocxate Professor^ *^ejf^l<>f 

Mines, Columbia University; Formerly ^X^'^^^)!^^; Rt^t^tla^ 

Division, National Research Council; Chief of Cost Statistical 

Division, American Steel and Wire Co,; forrr^ly secretary 

of American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical 



I'i I 







The chief guiding principle for an industry is that it 
shall be run economically, in order that it may survive under 
the stress of domestic and foreign competition. The question 
to be solved in connection with "continuous operations" which 
are so prevalent in the iron and steel industry is : What is 
the most commercially-economical number of hours that the 
average laborer can work in a day, from the viewpoint of: 

1. His productivity: In a day; 

In a week; 
In a year. 

2. His skill, carefulness, endurance, alertness, intelli- 

gence, judgment, regularity, morale, good will. 

3. His attraction to the work, so that it may benefit by 

the maximum supply of labor of the highest typa 

4. His persistence in the work, so that once he has been 

trained in the operations and his good qualities and 
faults have been learned, he will remain as an asset 
in the industry. 

Erom the technical aspect a laborer is not regarded merely 
as a soulless machine. On the contrary, a wise executive 









policy takes into full consideration the importance of the 
human and intellectual side of labor. There is no economy 
in saving one thousand dollars by grinding down workmen, 
and then losing ten times that sum through lack of care, 
attention, morale, or other preventable causes, dependent 
upon the mental or psychological attitude of the men, as 
distinguished from their merely physical condition. 

On the other hand, it is obviously of no permanent benefit 
to the men if their hours on duty are shortened beyond the 
point where the industry can survive under competitive con- 
ditions, or even if the most economical hours are established, 
under conditions of cooperation and mutual assistance, and 
the laborers, by withholding their cooperation, defeat the 
commercial advantages that might have been obtained. An 
injury to the industry is an injury to the men as well as to 
the management and stockholders. 

"Contin uous-Operations" 

In this discussion it should be borne in mind that by 
"continuous-operations" is meant those operations which 
continue for twenty-four hours a day, and several days — or 
even years— in succession. The hours of the laborers re- 
quired for these operations must be a fraction of twenty-four 
hours, as, twelve or eight. But the nature of the operations 
is such that they may not require the constant labor of the 
men, although they do require their being constantly on duty. 

Neither are all the laborers employed in the iron and 
steel industry constantly on duty in connection with the 
"continuous-operations.'* (Duly a portion of the men are 
necessary for this twenty-four-hour duty. 

Therefore, the problem resolves itself into the twelve- 
hour shift versus the eight-hour shift for this portion of the 
workmen only, considered in its commercial and economical 



aspects, as well as the technical aspect of the question, 
namely: How will the relative economy or effectiveness of 
the two systems of dividing the twenty-four hours of labor 
be affected by different types of apparatus, by different con- 
duct of the operations, by mechanical (or other) devices for 
replacing a part of the labor, etc. ? 

Old Conditions and the Twelve-hour Shift.- 

The principle of the twelve-hour shift is a survival of the 
time when it was the custom to work men long hours, and 
when the mechanical side of the iron and steel industry was 
less perfectly developed, so that periods of enforced idleness 
of the mill and the men occurred much more frequently than 
at present. Even when no break-down of apparatus occurred, 
the nature of some of the operations was such that peak loads 
of great intensity alternated with periods when the process 
requires little or no labor. Some of these peak loads were 
80 taxing that it was imperative that they be followed by 
rest and recuperation, and some of the valley loads were so 
light that it would be almost impossible to find useful work 
for the men to do even if they were not in need of rest. Con- 
sequently it was the custom for the men to rest, or to leave 
the immediate vicinity of their work, or even to sleep, while 
technically on duty, with the result that the normal twelve- 
hour shift was not overtaxing. A more important commercial 
and economical factor of the type of work in some operations, 
notably the blast furnace and the open-hearth furnace, was 
that usually a man could not perform a reasonable amount 
of physical labor during eight hours of being technically on 
duty, for he would be actually engaged for only four to six 
hours in a day. 

When, in the course of modem progress, the manufac- 
turers of some other commodities reduced the work-day to 






shorter and shorter hours, the iron and steel manufacturer 
did not follow suit, because he did not see how he could do 
so without going in one step from twelve hours to eight hours, 
with the result of failing to secure any reasonable expendi- 
ture of energy on the part of the men. The twelve-hour shift 
seemed to be peculiarly adapted to the iron industry. 

For example, it might require thirty-six men to man an 
old-fashioned blast furnace, producing about a hundred tons 
of pig iron in twenty-four hours. One-half of the men would 
work eleven hours on the day shift, the other half working 
thirteen hours on the night shift. During the night the men 
could usually have four to five-and-a-half hours of sleep 
between peak loads, but when the peak loads were to bo 
handled, the full crew of eighteen men were needed. These 
loads came about five times per twenty-four hours; human 
ingenuity has not devised a method of overlapping crews, 
whereby the change of shift would come at the time of these 
^ve peak loads, even if the blast-furnace operation were 
regular enough to enable one to predict just when the peak 
load would occur, which it is not. Therefore, if labor were 
worked on three shifts instead of two, each crew would still 
have to be a full complement of eighteen men, or nearly so, 
to handle the peak loads, and each man would be idle as 
large a proportion of the full time as when the crews were 
on duty for twelve hours. 

There might be a slight modification of this statement, 
because of a fraction more physical power, and some greater 
willingness to assume added labor, resulting from the men 
being given shorter hours, but not enough to alter the prin- 
ciple involved. The twelve-hour shift was the only means 
of getting a full day's work out of a strong man at the old- 
fashioned blast furnace. 




Change in Conditions Today. 

But today practically all the heavy labor at the blast 
furnace is handled by machinery; a very much smaller crew 
than eighteen men can take care of all the work at a modem 
furnace making 600 tons of pig iron in twenty-four hours. 
The manual labor remaining comes in peak loads about five 
times in twenty-four hours, and periods of idleness between. 
The chief difference is that the labor cost per ton of pig iron 
is very much less, and therefore the economic factor of in- 
creasing the labor by employing three crews, instead of two, 
is a smaller item. 

It should be said, moreover, that there is one American 
blast furnace of very modem construction which works its 
labor in three shifts and permits no periods of idleness. 

At the open-hearth furnaces also the heavy peak loads 
are now handled, whenever desired, by labor-saving devices, 
although there is still a good deal of irregularity in labor 
requirements from hour to hour, with resultant opportunity 
for rest periods, though not for sleep. Finally, the enforced 
idleness due to mechanical break-downs is now much less 

Influences Deferring Shorter Shifts — Questions Involved, 

Obviously, then, the chief causes originally operating to 
perpetuate the twelve-hour shift in iron and steel works have 
been greatly decreased in intensity, if not entirely removed. 
What reasons remain to prevent the steel industry from 
dividing the twenty-four hours into three shifts instead of 
into two ? 

It is to be noted that many American plants have already 
taken this step, and that they declare themselves satisfied 
with the results and are planning to make the three-shift 
system permanent. Other executives, however, hesitate to 
take the step, because they do not know what the result will 


I tl 

s 1 



t i: 



be. Will there be an increase of labor efficiency or produc- 
tivity to absorb a good part of the extra cost of working three 
crews instead of two ? Will the apparatus be capable of in- 
creased production if the men work harder on shorter hours ? 
If the answer to these questions is negative, will there be 
other compensating economic benefits, such as less need of 
repairs, less labor turnover, fewer accidents ? If the answer 
to the questions is affirmative, then where is the extra labor 
coming from ? Will diluting the present skilled labor force 
with raw recruits produce a commercial set-back ? Will three 
shifts increase the difficulty of fixing responsibility? Will 
the men misuse their added four hours of freedom from 
dutv ? Will they be more subject to labor agitators ? 



The two-shift system does not mean that every man work- 
ing in the plant labors for twelve hours every day. Far from 
it! In fact we find, although all the men may be on two 
shifts, it is only the so-called "continuous-operations" which 
require attention for the whole twenty-four hours ; the men 
who are merely accessory to these "continuous-operations" 
are not on duty all the time. The two shifts for these latter 
men may be of only ten hours' duration each, in which case 
there will be a period of two hours at the end of each shift 
when their places will be vacant. 

Working Hours in 1920. 

A report of the United States Department of Labor, re- 
leased for publication May 24, 1922, gives the following 
percentages of workmen in different departments of iron and 
steel works, for the year 1920 classified as to the number of 
hours worked per day : 


Ieon and Steel Workers in 1920 



12 hours 
per day 

8 hours 
per day 




At blast furnaces 






Over 50% 
Under 10% 



Bessemer mills 

■■•*' /o 


Open-hearth mills 


Puddling mills 


Blooming mills 


Rail mills 

Bar mills 

Under 35% 

Sheet and tin plate mills 

Over 25% 

These figures of the year 1920 are probably the best ones 
to use for normal recent indications, because although many 
plants adopted the eight-hour day for several classes of work- 
men during the slack period of 1921, they did so at a reduced 
daily wage merely for the purpose of keeping a larger num- 
ber of men employed. The object was to keep the men busy 
at shorter hours and lower daily wage, rather than to keep 
a less number of men on the same wages. Some of these 
plants returned to the two-shift system as soon as the com- 
mercial situation warranted their producing a larger outpiit. 
Some plants were forced to return because competitors were 
working their men twelve hours at twelve hours' pay 
and the men who were only getting eight hours' pay were 
attracted away by the higher daily wage, notwithstanding the 
longer hours that went with it. 

Shortening of Hours from 1910 to 1920, 

If, now, the figures for the preceding decade are ex- 
amined, it will be seen that in recent years there has been a 
great decrease in the proportion of employees of the iron and 


' I 


steel industry working long hours, and a large increase in 
those who had an eight-hour day. This statement is sup- 
ported by comparison of the figures in the Department of 
Labor report just mentioned with those in Documents Nos. 
110 and 301 of the 62nd Congress, 2nd Session, entitled 
"Conditions of Employment in the Iron and Steel Industry 
in the United States." 

The data in these several publications are not all arranged 
exactly the same way, so that some estimates have to be made 
in order to make the figures comparative by classes, but the 
error is less than 1 or 2 per cent, either way. Comparisons 
seem to be possible only in the case of the blast furnaces, 
Bessemer mills, and open-hearth mills, because the data re- 
ferring to rolling mills are classified differently in the several 
publications, but the relations of hours worked in these three 
fundamental manufacturing departments are sufficient to 
throw light on the subject discussed in this study. 

The Eightt-foue-Houb Week 

According to these government figures, the following 
table shows the percentages of employees of the three funda- 
mental manufacturing department working eighty-four hours 
per week in 1910 and in 1920. 

Iron and Steel Workers Employed 84 Hours per Week 

IN 1910 AND 1920 

At blast furnaces. . . 
Bessemer mills . . . 
Open-hearth mills 

Working 84 hours per week 



As nearly as can be estimated from the data given, the 
following table gives the percentage of laborers in the same 
three departments who worked the long and the short shift 
respectively, in 1910 and in 1920: 

Ibon and Steel Workers on Two Shifts and on Thbeb Smrre 

IN 1910 AND 1920 

Working 12 hours 

Working 8 hours 





At blast furnaces 

Bessemer mills 

Open-hearth mills 











The proportion of men working twelve hours in the Bessemer 
mills is an exception to the general trend, but the Bessemer 
process has been on the wane for many years, and the number 
of men employed is probably very much reduced since 1910. 
Almost all the men who work either nine or ten hours 
per day are those who are accessory to the "continuous- 
operations"; that is, it is not essential that their places be 
occupied during all the twenty-four hours of the day. A 
comparison of this class of employees for 1910 and 1920 is 
shown in the following table: 


At blast furnaces. 
Bessemer mills . . . 
Open-hearth mills 

Percentage of employees 

working either 9 hours or 

10 hours per day 

In 1910 

In 1920 

' ', 




Two-shift Plan vs. Twelve-Hours Actual Work. 

The fact that men on the two-shift system do not actually 
work for twelve hours, but rest a good deal of the time while 
on duty, is exemplified by blast-furnace operation, in which 
it is common practice for the men to have one or two periods 
of two to two-and-a-half hours each during a shift for rest 
or sleep. In some plants rest houses are provided at the 
blast furnaces, (less occasionally at the rolling mills), where 
popular and semi-technical magazines are kept on file, and 
where the men are permitted to loaf or sleep when not re- 
quired for active duty, but always on call in case of need. 
Some plants have cafeterias and soda fountains, where the 
men are permitted to go for refreshment between periods of 
active labor. They are paid for these intervals provided 
they are within the plant and on call. 

Many managers sincerely believe that the two-shift system 
of this type, namely: twelve hours' duty, twelve hours' pay, 
with seven-and-a-half to eight hours only of active work and 
rest intervals between, is better for the health of the men 
than eight hours of continuous labor. This view, however, 
does not take into account the insufficiency of the rest which 
the men on the night shift obtain, due to only eleven hours 
between shifts. These men have an opportunity to sleep 
only in daytime, and often during hot weather they return 
to their work at 6 p. m. more tired than when they left it. 
Another two-shift system which also differs from a 
twelve-hour work day has been in vogue during the depression 
in the iron and steel industry in 1921 and 1922. It consists 
of working two shifts of eight hours, nine hours, and some- 
times ten hours each and allowing the equipment to lie idle 
during the intervals between. This has been adopted merely 
for the purpose of decreasing output. In every case investi- 
gated, however, with one exception, it has been only partially 


successful in decreasing output — that is to say, the output per 
hour has increased so much that two ten-hour shifts at certain 
rolling mills have produced more tonnage than was formerly 
produced on twelve-hour shifts. In another case, two eight- 
hour shifts produced within a negligible fraction as much as 
had been produced in two twelve-hour shifts. It was necessary 
in one case, where reduced tonnage was imperative, to limit 
the output of each shift. When the men had rolled the limit, 
they went home, regardless of number of hours worked. The 
working time was usually less than ten hours, notwithstand- 
ing that all took things easy. 

The result in these plants cannot be ascribed wholly to 
increased efficiency of the men working shorter hours. In 
one case it was due to the removal of a previously unsus- 
pected "bottle neck" at the furnaces which heated the 
material for rolling. When these furnaces had an interval 
both before and after each shift, they coordinated so much 
better with the roll trains that greatly increased output per 
hour was possible. Until additional furnaces could be in- 
stalled, it would be impossible to estimate how much of the 
hourly increase in productivity was due to equipment and 
how much to labor. 

Two Shifts with Idle Periods — Difficulties. 

The two-shift system with idle periods of equipment is 
not possible at blast furnaces or open-hearth departments. 
And, wherever it is adopted, it involves waste of fuel in that 
idle furnaces must be maintained hot. It may be thought 
that the idle mill and machinery will increase overhead 
expenses, but this is obviously not so when the output must 
be limited in any event. 

In some cases the statement has been made that the plan 
just mentioned resulted in saving on account of affording 
a better opportunity to keep the equipment in repair. In 



! ii 



\ \ 


one case this was denied, on the ground that there is always 
apt to be a break-down soon after idle machinery or equip- 
ment is started again, regardless of how carefully it is in- 
spected and repaired between operations, and that therefore 
the idle periods actually caused increased interruptions by 


The differences between the two-shift system and a 
twelve-hour work day may be simunarized as follows: 

1. Even where the two-shift system is the rule of the 

plant, only two-thirds to three-fourths of the em- 
ployees work twelve hours; 

2. Even those who are on duty for twelve hours, and are 

paid for twelve hours, are actually engaged in labor 
no more than from seven to ten hours; an average 
of nine hours would not be far wrong, counting 
times of emergency, etc. But these men are subject 
to labor, if needed, and subject to orders for the 
whole twelve hours, which they must spend in the 
plant ; 

3. Two shifts may be worked, leaving idle periods at 

the end of each. Thus the men will work less than 
twelve hours each. 



As great as the difference between the two-shift system 
and the twelve-hour day is that between the three-shift system 
and the eight-hour day. Taking the Table on page 16 as an 
illustration: If all the twelve-hour men in that Table were 
changed into eight-hour men, we should have a three-shift 
system throughout the iron and steel industry. But, when 


the change is made, it is found after study and some experi- 
menting that some of the men working two shifts of twelve 
hours each can be changed to two shifts of ten hours each, 
thus giving the men easier hours with the same daily wage 
and no expense to the industry. Others can be changed to 
three shifts of eight hours each, and, simultaneously, forced 
to take on a little more work, thus decreasing the size of the 
crews. This is discussed in detail on page 228. 

The ideal achievement from the technical standpoint 
would be to work all the eight-hour men continuously, with- 
out any loafing periods, and always on operating productivity. 
While this has been found possible at rolling mills (see page 
256, with actual saving of cost over the two-shift system, it 
has not, so far, been found possible at blast-furnaces or open- 
hearth mills. The Ford Motor Company, however, requires 
that its men work at something during the entire eight-hour 
shift. Between productive operations these men are engaged 
in cleaning up, painting, adjusting, inspecting, etc., the 
different parts of the blast furnace and its accessory appa- 
ratus. The management attributes to this constant attention 
and watchfulness the circumstance that all parts are clean 
and open to inspection, and that the need of repairs is 
observed before either the repairs, or the consequences of 
neglecting them, become serious. The management believes 
that a great deal of expense is saved in this way. The prin- 
ciple may be stated as follows: The crew, although not 
engaged constantly in operating productivity, is engaged con- 
stantly either in productivity or in avoiding waste. 

Questions Irwolved in Proposal for Shorter Shifts. 

The American iron and steel industry is at a disadvan- 
tage in answering some of the technical questions involved 
in the proposal for shorter shifts, because it never has 
had a well-developed research department upon which exec- 

'I , 

\ ' 


i^j I 



utives could predicate changes in practice. Thus, most of 
the important technical advances of great magnitude, even 
though invented in America, have had to be tested and 
exploited in foreign countries before they were generally 
adopted in the American industry — for example, gas engines 
at blast furnaces; electric production, or refining, of iron 
and steel. With England and Europe in an abnormal com- 
mercial condition after the War, and with labor triumphant 
after forcing on the industry the adoption of the three-shift 
system without opportunity to prepare in advance by research 
or technical advances, the American industry cannot look 
abroad for an aniwer to these questions. (See pages 245 
and 246. 

Furthermore, it is not to be inferred from America's 
experience with shorter shifts in 1921 that a larger output 
is necessarily obtained from the twelve-hour shift. The year 
1921 was a time of depression in the iron and steel industry; 
manufacturers did not work either their men or their equip- 
ment to full capacity. Nevertheless, it was noted at many 
plants, and reported to the investigator during his visits, that 
there was a marked increase of efficiency of labor during the 
period of working eight-hour shifts. Some attributed this 
increased efficiency to the better rest which men were able 
to obtain between shifts, and others to be the increased 
eagerness of men to hold their jobs, which intensified their 
activity as long as they saw a gang of men seeking employ- 
ment. It was noted that the efficiency of labor decreased with 
the decrease in surplus of labor available. Therefore, the 
conclusion which many superintendents of departments have 
drawn from the experience of 1921, namely: that the eight- 
hour shift very greatly increased the efficiency of labor, must 
be qualified to the extent indicated. Unfortunately we do 
not know whether the increase of efficiency observed was due 
wholly to the eight-hour shift, or wholly to the psychological 


effect of knowing that men were available seeking one's job, 
or partly to both causes. Attention is called elsewhere (see 
page 288) to the^ possibility of securing the increase of effi- 
ciency from both causes at once, even during a time of labor 


There are other points of doubt which militate, at present, 
against the adoption of the eight-hour shift for "continuous- 
operations." One question asked by executives is this: If 
men are given twelve hours' pay for eight hours' work, will 
they not still be discontented and agitate for twelve hours' 
work at the advanced rate? As noted elsewhere, however, 
(see page 288) there seems to be no good reason to expect 
such a result, if the proper remedy is applied. 

The Real Issue, 

A second question asked by executives, however, is more 
important : Do the men want the eight-hour shift ? Now if 
this question reaUy means — as I understand it — ^Do the men 
want the eight-hour shift with eight hours' pay at the present 
hourly rate? then I believe there can be no question that 
they do not! The present daily wage of three dollars and 
sixty cents, which is given for twelve hours' work at thirty 
cents per hour, is as low as any on which even "common 
labor" can live in America and support a family. 

This last question seems to bring the whole matter to a 
definite issue. Evidently, if the eight-hour shift is to be 
adopted, "common labor" must be paid the same daily wage 
as at present, and some technical or commercial compensation 
found in the conduct of the operations. If that is not pos- 
sible, and if profits at present cannot stand the extra pro- 
duction cost, then the twelve-hour shift must be continued 
until a change occurs. 












Assuming for the sake of argument that the management 
and stockholders of an iron and steel company have decided 
to abolish the twelve-hour shift as soon as practicable; to 
do so as economically as possible, but to pay the cost of the 
change out of profits, if necessary ; what conditions are impor- 
tant from the technical viewpoint, and what provisions should 
be made ? 

1. The equipment must be in satisfactory condition, so 

that it will respond to increased intensity of oper- 
ation, if any, and increased efficiency of labor, if 

2. The cooperation of the men must be secured. 

3. Additional labor, both skilled and unskilled, must be 


4. The technical staff must be prepared to furnish full 

information regarding all available labor-saving 

6. Existing "bottle necks" must be eliminated, and 
probably "bottle necks" which will appear after 
production is speeded up must be foreseen as well 
as possible, and provisions made to eliminate them. 

6. "Peak loads" must be studied with especial reference 
to lightening them with mechanical appliances. 




7. Progress must be gradual; too many changes cannot 
satisfactorily be made at once. 

Importance of Adequate Equipment 

The capital expenditure necessary to put the equipment 
in satisfactory condition will not be wasted even if the hopes 
of the management are disappointed and there is evidenced 
no increased efficiency of labor to intensify operations. This 
will be the more true if we keep in mind the seventh con- 
dition and proceed gradually. 


True cooperation can result only from confidence. If 
the men mistrust the motives of the management in changing 
from two shifts to three shifts, they can easily destroy many 
of the compensatory benefits which might accrue to the enter- 
prise in return for the risk or financial sacrifice made. On 
the other hand, if there is entirely frank discussion, in ad- 
vance, of the change ; if the past record of the management 
is such as to inspire the men with confidence in their sin- 
cerity; if the men learn that they may themselves speak 
freely without exposing themselves to being discriminated 
against, then it has been proved that the men can give sug- 
gestions of real value, and their loyalty, attendance, prompt- 
ness to work, good will, response under emergency, care, 
attention, and general morale are better. All this not only 
facilitates the change, but it helps all over the rough places, 
reduces labor turnover, and makes the daily work more 
attractive to all. 

The larger the company the more difficult it is to inspire 
in the laborers confidence in the motives of the management. 
This is a psychological handicap which is inherent in an 
organization of great size. It may, therefore, be easier for 


the smaller companies to make the change than for those of 
larger magnitude ; it may even be better for the industry for 
the smaller companies to change first. It is the fact that 
those companies which have already adopted the three-shift 
system are all comparatively small. The great organizations 
can perhaps most easily convince their men of their sincerity 
if they frankly adopt the principle of abandoning the twelve- 
hour shift in imitation of smaller competitors, provided they 
do not delay so long that the men demand it before the 
management offers it. The disastrous effects of changing 
merely in response to a demand from the men is shown in 
the results of the change in the European countries, as dis- 
cussed on pages 245 and 246. 

The Question of AddiHonal Labor, 

Even the fondest advocates of the three-shift system admit 
that some additional labor is necessitated by the change from 
the twelve-hour day. If the change is made gradually, how- 
ever, and if the cooperation of the men is secured, the 
additional skilled labor may be trained in the plant itself. 
No case exists, so far as known to the investigator, in which 
labor was not available at the prevailing daily wage, and even, 
in some cases, at a slightly reduced daily wage, to supply 
the need when the eight-hour shift was adopted. Those plants 
which have adopted the three-shift system have found that 
labor was attracted from other occupations because of the 
short day, or from other localities. 

The statement just made may appear to be contradicted 
by the experience of many companies in 1922, which 
adopted the three-shift system in 1920 and 1921, when the 
reduced activity of the steel industry caused a surplus of 
labor. The companies in questioii worked several depart- 
ments on three eight-hour shifts, paying the same hourly 
rate, and therefore, of course, a daily rate of SSVj per cent. 



lower than before. This cost them nothing and kept a greater 
number of men busy. The men were willing to work on these 
terms (since they could get no better) so long as their jobs 
were in jeopardy, but as soon as the steel industry became 
more active and they could get work elsewhere, they left the 
eight-hour plants and applied for work at twelve-hour plants. 
In other words, they wanted more money even if they had 
to work twelve hours to get it. Some of the best began to be 
attracted away, because they were the men who found it 
easiest to secure the work at twelve-hour plants. This experi- 
ence was somewhat widespread geographically, and perhaps 
did more than any other one thing to prejudice executives 
against the three-shift system. 

But this experience has been cited many times by those 
who have remained on the three-shift system as an instance 
of going about the change in the wrong way and of drawing 
wrong conclusions by erroneous interpretation of events. 

Dvhious Inferences. 

Failure to consider all the facts seems to have led in some 
cases to incorrect inferences. For example, the prevailing 
wages for common labor in the northern steel districts is 
thirty cents per hour ; in rare cases less is paid, and in the 
southern districts, much less is paid. It is admitted that 
even the commonest laboring man cannot support a family 
decently on $2.40 per day. It may have been more humane 
to pay three men $7.20 a day, and work them all eight hours 
apiece than to pay $3.60 to two men for twelve hours' work 
each and let the third man depend on charity. But whatever 
may have been the rights of this action, and it would seem 
to have been best and wisest under the circumstances, it was 
an expedient to meet a situation; it was not an application 
of the three-shift principle; it was rather a form of 
social economy during an industrial crisis whose application 



?. I 



ceased when the crisis passed. It did not even afford an 
opportunity to judge of the eflSciencj of labor, because neither 
labor nor equipment were employed on the basis of efficiency, 
but purposely on the basis of reduced productivity. In many 
cases no attempt was made to economize on labor where 
economy was easily possible, because the object of the 
change was to keep as many laborers employed as could be 
kept without increase of expense. 

Nevertheless, it has been reported to the investigator that 
many laborers were dispensed with because a smaller crew 
in eight hours could do the same work as a larger crew in 
twelve hours. In one or two cases the crews were reduced 
at the suggestion of the men themselves. All this was under 
circumstances very adverse to increased efficiency and with- 
out introducing any additional labor-saving mechanical de- 
vices. It was an illustration of what might be called involun- 
tary and uninspired increase of efficiency due to the shorter 
day. It was not a fair criterion of what improvements in 
labor productivity might have been achieved if the manage- 
ment had planned carefully in advance and carried through 
the change with executive skill and a desire to effect an 
improvement which would give permanent relief to the men. 
The maximum hours worked by approximately one-fifth of 
the workers in the iron and steel industry — twelve hours per 
day, eighty-four hours per week, and 4,383 hours per year — 
are to be compared with 2,500 hours per year, the maximum 
which any man is permitted to work in the Ford Motor Com- 
pany, including the iron blast-furnace department. 

Some authorities will contradict at once the statement 
that the increase of efficiency in the cases referred to was 
"involuntary and uninspired." They will declare that the 
increased eagerness to work was inspired by the men's knowl- 
edge that their jobs were in jeopardy ; that a large gang of 
unemployed was waiting outside the gate to take the place 



of any man whose work was unsatisfactory ; that the increased 
efficiency of labor was in direct ratio to the size of this gang 
seeking employment; that it was this inspiring object lesson 
rather than shorter hours of work or longer hours of rest 
which was the real motive force within the laborers that im- 
pelled them to greater efforts. If this be true, then it only 
remains for the technical staff to perpetuate the inward im- 
pelling motive to work at the peak of the laborer's ability, and 
at the same time, to take advantage of the greater ability to 
work which comes with shorter hours and longer rest. 

Failure Through Loch of Cooperation. 

Mention should be made here of the experience of a 
plant which did change to the three-shift system after 
planning by the management and with the hope of effecting 
a permanent improvement in the long hours worked by its 
men. When the labor-demand of the industry in the same 
district began to increase, the laborers at the plant in question 
began to desert them for plants where they could get twelve 
hours' work with twelve hours' pay. Some of their best 
men were leaving, and in self-defense the management 
changed back to the twelve-hour shift in several departments. 
The news of this experience naturally spread very fast among 
executives, and spread the fear of the three-shift system. 

The management of the plant in question received the 
investigator very courteously and gave him all the informa- 
tion about the situation which could have been asked. No 
possible criticism could have been made of them for any 
unwillingness to answer questions which concerned their lack 
of success with their plans for the three-shift system — ques- 
tions which so vitally touched their competitive position in 
the industry. So far as could be learned, however, their 
lack of success was due chiefly to the fact that they were 
unable to secure the cooperation of their men. Perhaps this 


'i '' 


failure was due to the temper of the men rather than any 
fault of the management; there are reasons for believing 
that this may have been so. The wholly impersonal and 
technical conclusion is, however, that this lack of cooperation 
was alone sufficient to defeat the meritorious attempt on the 
part of the management. 

Other contributing causes were that the management did 
not give enough study to the question of equipment, to the 
lightening of peak loads by mechanical appliances and did 
not make the change with sufficient deliberation and gradual- 
ness. Neither had they correctly anticipated the necessity 
of capital expenditure which would have successfully solved 
some of the apparently insoluble problems which were 
encountered. It may be that these conclusions are mistaken, 
but if this is the case, it is because the management was not 
free to give the information which would have corrected the 

The name and identity of this plant must, for obvious 
reasons, be concealed ; it has not been mentioned to anyone 
in connection with the conclusions formed, nor is the descrip- 
tion here given sufficient to identify it among others. 

The Question of Labor— Summary, 

Summarizing the condition of available labor for the 
three-shift system: 

1. The plants which have adopted the three-shift system 

and are paying wages a little lower than are paid 
at corresponding plants working twelve-hour shifts 
have sufficient labor, both skilled and unskilled. 

2. The management of these plants, in the majority of 

cases, believe that they attract a better class of labor 
because of the shorter hours. 

3. The executives believe that the superior labor and 



the full supply of labor comes to them because of, 

not in spite of, the eight-hour day. 
4. Every executive interviewed who has had sufficient 

actual experience with both systems to speak with 

authority declares in emphatic terms that the labor 

turnover is much less on the three-shift system than 

it is on the two-shift system. 
6. Sufficient skilled labor can be trained in the plant if 

the change is made with the cooperation of the men, 

and if it is made gradually. 
6. It is not necessary to pay a full twelve-hour wage to 

skilled labor in order to get a sufficient number to 

work the eight-hour shift. 

Other Points. 

Other items might be listed but require only brief 
mention at this point. Labor-saving appliances are discussed 
under the head of the different departments, such as : blast- 
furnace, open-hearth, etc. The subject of "bottle necks" is 
obvious and requires no special discussion, besides being 
usually individual to each plant. "Peak loads" are con- 
sidered in Chapter XIX. The wisdom of deliberation in 
making the change to the three-shift system is noted in 
several places in this study. 


If it be assumed that labor must be paid a little higher 
rate per hour, or per ton, in order to bring about the change 
to shorter hours without too much discontent, then one or 
more of the following improvements must be realized if the 
change is to be a commercial success: 

1. There must be an increased output per man per hour 
in order to partly offset the increased labor rate. 


i. j 




2. There must be a gradual improvement in the type or 
intelligence of labor attracted to the industry. This 
improvement will not be observed of course, except 
after a period of years. 

3 The quality of the product as a whole must improve, 
or else, the proportion of first quality product 
as compared with second and third quality product 

must increase. 

4. There must be less waste of materials in process. This 

means, for example, pig iron scrap at the blast 
furnace ; sloppings, spillings, and short ingots, m 
the steel mills; cobbles, off-size product, unnecessary 
croppings, clippings, in the rolling mills. 

5. There must be decreased use of materials for linings, 

or other parts of the apparatus or equipment. ^ 

6. There must be a decrease in the number or the serious- 

ness of repairs. 

7. There must be fewer interruptions of the processes 

because of delays due to errors of judgment; to 
lack of perfect coordination between the different 
departments or mills; to lack of attention, care, 


8. There must be fewer accidents to men. A little reflec- 

tion will convince one that this is a technical as 
well as a humanitarian consideration. Accidents 
decrease the attractiveness of the type of labor, thus 
influencing the supply of labor ; they cause delays, 
lack of attention, decrease in morale, and temporary 

9. There must be better conduct of the operations— for 

example, less "pigging up'' in the open-hearth. 
10. There must be greater regularity or uniformity of the 



11. There must be less absence from work, and less tardi- 


12. There must be decrease in labor turnover, which will 

save at the employment office and also in the operat- 
ing department through lessening the inconvenience 
and waste of working new men at intervals. 

Probability of These Results, 

While there are operators who will deny the probability 
of every one of these compensating economies, the actual 
condition is that, wherever the three-shift system has been put 
into operation in accordance with good technical practice, 
as outlined, some of these desiderata have been realized, thus 
offsetting, at least in part, the extra cost due to the increased 
labor rate. Unfortunately it is not possible to give figures to 
show how near to 100 per cent, this compensation is. In 
many cases plants are not in possession of exact figures. In 
other cases the change was made during a period of labor 
surplus, when the efficiency of labor was increased, as already 
noted on page 238, by psychological influences, quite inde- 
pendent of the three-shift system. Finally, the manage- 
ment in some cases takes the stand, properly enough, that 
figures of this nature are quite confidential. Many estimates 
have been given informally by those having experience, and 
they vary all the way from a compensation greater than the 
increased cost to one of only one-third of the increased cost. 

A Reasondhle Mtmmum, 

It would not be quite fair, of course, to use even this 
last figure as the basis of definite estimates, but I, personally, 
believe that it represents the minimum that may be expected 
under good normal conditions for the change. This opinion 
is based upon observations and many opinions given to me 

i .. 





during some weeks of study and observation at plants of the 
following types: 

1. Two-shift plants which never tried three shifts. 

2. Two-shift plants which tried three shifts and changed 


3. Three-shift plants whose management is well satisfied 

with the results achieved. 

The opinion is offered for what it is worth, with a state- 
ment of the basis on which it is f oimded. 

Instances of Lasting Success with Three Shifts. 

That there are plants which have been in operation for 
several years with evident success is a fact which strongly 
supports the favorable opinion just expressed. The oppo- 
nents of the three-shift system maintain, however, that some 
special circumstance operates in each such case, which pre- 
vents our accepting this favorable conclusion as applicable 
to the industry in general. Now there are special circum- 
stances operating in every iron and steel district of the 
United States which give that district an advantage over its 
competitors: for instance, the Birmingham District has a 
favorable labor rate and low assembly cost, and the Pitts- 
burgh District has a low fuel cost. These advantages are, 
in some cases, greater than the total labor cost per ton 
of pig iron, for example. 

Furthermore, we have blast furnaces operating on the 
three-shift system and producing pig iron in competitive 
centers at lower than the market cost ; we have open-hearth 
furnaces operating on the three-shift system producing steel 
castings in direct competition and paying dividends; we 
have Bessemer mills at large plants which have for years 
been employing some types of skilled labor on the three-shift 
basis with satisfaction to the management and stockholders; 



we have rolling mills which employ the three-shift system at 
an actual saving in labor cost (see pa^e 24). Therefore, 
we may assume that it is possible to employ the three-shift 
system with some degree of technical and economical iuccess. 

Failure if Conditions Are Wrrnig, 

It is manifest, however, that the three-shift system may 
be employed with a conspicuous lack of both technical and 
economical success. 

In the first place, success is least likely if the change is 
made at a time when most pressure is put upon management 
to shorten the hours of labor. Good results cannot be ex- 
pected if the change is made 

1. Merely on the demand of the men, or under pressure 

of the Government; 

2. During a time of labor imrest ; 

3. When labor is arrogant, or elated by a victory. 

In the second place, good results cannot be expected if 
the transition is made too abruptly, that is, if too many 
changes are made simultaneously. 

Unfortunate Results in Europe, 

The disastrous results of the shortening of the hours of 
labor in thirteen European countries shortly after the close 
of the World War, contrasted with the contrary experience 
in those American plants where the change was made under 
the right conditions, furnish all the evidence we need to 
prove the truth of these statements. In every European in- 
stance three of the undesirable conditions mentioned above 
existed— sometimes four of them— and, in addition, the labor 
situation had been made still worse by the killing off of 
many of the younger and more active men in the War. The 

i' ! 

i ■ 



n ; 

V ) 


results of tlie change in European countries were published 
by The International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland 
(American Correspondent, Ernest Greenwood, 618 Seven- 
teenth Street, N. W., Washington, D. C), in a "Preliminary 
Memorandum," issued May 5, 1922, and commented upon 
in The Iron Age of May 18, 1922. Even the most superficial 
study of the data furnished demonstrates that the European 
labor situation was so bad that industry could not have been 
carried on successfully under any circumstances, much less 
when a drastic change was brought about as the result of 
strife between labor and capital Everywhere labor condi- 
tions were unsettled; political and industrial relations in 
many cases approached bolshevism ; strikes, riots, violence, 
preceded the victory of labor which forced the change to the 
three-shift system, and left labor in an arrogant attitude 
which destroyed discipline. In some cases the laborers ex- 
torted the eight-hour shift from the management of the steel 
works, and then, instead of using the extra hours for rest and 
recreation, took additional employment in other works to 
increase their income; naturally there was no increase of 
efficiency, because the men were doing double duty. The 
management was at the mercy of the men and the ordinary 
rules of discipline could not be enforced. 

There was an increase of wages from the pre-war level 
because of the deterioration in the value of the money, but 
no account was taken of this circumstance in the report made 
by some of the countries as to the change ; while it seemed 
to indicate an increase of cost due to the three-shift system, 
it was in reality quite independent of the change of system. 
The efficiency of labor had been reduced by years of ill-nour- 
ishment in war times and underfeeding during the period 
when the results were observed. Moreover, the increased 
efficiency of the men on shorter hours, if any, would not have 
been effective in most cases, because the market was so bad 



that the plants could not sell their output if they increased it 
and because, according to reports in many cases, the quality 
of raw materials was inferior, and the fuel was inferior, or 
insufficient in amount, or both. 

Finally, the management was at the mercy of the men, 
and the ordinary rules of discipline could not be enforced. In 
several instances plants complained that the labor situation 
was so disturbed and unsatisfactory that men arrived at the 
works late and left before the shift was over; the men took 
less interest, deliberately decreased their energy and activity, 
wasted tools and materials, and absented themselves from 
work without notice. In some cases the reports from the 
several countries say in so many words that no deductions 
can be drawn from the result because of the demoralization 
of labor. The report from Spain, for example, shows an in- 
crease in cost of 50 per cent, to 400 per cent., due, as stated 
there, not to the three-shift system, but to tremendous wage 
increases brought about by strife and riots. 

Some Bright Spots in Europe, 

Nevertheless, it is to be noted that in the midst of this 
black picture many instances were met of increased labor 
efficiency. The fact is very encouraging. 

Thus the Minister of Labor of Belgium reports that the 
increase of labor force consequent on the change to the three- 
shift system, instead of being 50 per cent., as might be ex- 
pected was as follows: 

At blast furnaces, 46 per cent. 

Open-hearth mills, 22 per cent. 

Basic Bessemer, 24 per cent. 

Rolling mills, 29 per cent. 

In Finland there was an increase of production of about 
30 per cent., and the labor increase, instead of being 50 per 
cent, was between 5 per cent, and 30 per cent., and there was 




a saving of fuel of about 15 per cent. This notwithstanding 
the facts that the men were more subject to agitation during 
their extra hours of leisure; that they were more tardy, and 
allowed outside interests to interfere with their work. In 
England the open-hearth production increased between 14 
per cent, and 18 per cent, notwithstanding that inferior raw 
materials and disturbances on account of demobilization in- 
terfered with output. In Italy the increase in the number 
of workers was only between 20 per cent, and 60 per cent., 
and the increase of labor cost between 35 and 50 per cent. In 
Jugo-Slavia one rolling mill increased its production by 15 
per cent, and a wire mill produced 20 per cent, more, conse- 
quent on the change to three shifts. In Roumania about 30 
per cent, more men are now required. In Spain the number 
of men required has increased by from 25 to 50 per cent., and 
where good discipline prevails, output per man has increased 
by 7 to 10 per cent. 




It is obvious that wages must be increased by 50 per cent, 
per hour if men are to make as much per day when they 
work eight hours as when they work twelve hours. If men 
are paid according to tonnage, then the rate of pay per ton 
must increase 50 per cent, provided they are unable to make 
a greater tonnage per hour. Now, let us assume temporarily 
that they cannot make more tonnage per hour than they are 
already making. This may not be a function of the men's 
efficiency, but may be due either to the fact that the maximum 
capacity of the equipment has been reached or to the fact that 
the limit of possible sales has been attained. 

Three Methods of Meeting Three-shift Requirements. 

Under these circumstances, one of three courses may be 
pursued : 

1. The management may employ 50 per cent, more men 

and pay their wages out of profits. 

2. The number of men employed may be increased 50 per 

cent, and the wages of all reduced 33V8 per cent., 
thus leaving profits the same. 

3. The number of men employed may be increased 50 per 

cent., and wages per day (or per ton, as the case 
may be) reduced by 16Vs per cent Thus labor 



> ' 



and profits each lose money, share and share alike. 
This has been called the "fifty-fifty" basis. 

All three of these methods have been tried with success, 
in particular instances, and are still in operation, although, 
of course, wage adjustments have occurred in some cases 
since the change was made, apparently modifying the method, 
as to whether it is the first, second, or third of those men- 

^Larger Costs — How Far Ojfset hy Savings and Profits. 

Enough cases are on record in which the three-shift plan 
has been tried here in the United States and has been con- 
tinued with satisfaction to the management and stockholders 
to show that profits can be made with labor working three 
shifts. In these cases, manifestly, profits must have been 
sufficient to pay the additional labor costs which have been 
necessary. This may be due to either of two causes : 

1. Profits must have been great enough to absorb the 

50 per cent, increase in labor costs and still satisfy 
management and stockholders. 

2. The increase in labor cost must have been less than 

50 per cent., or must have been compensated by 
savings in overhead, repairs, amortization, waste, 
losses due to inferior product or similar causes. 

To precisely what extent profits are decreased and cost 
of production increased by changing labor from two shifts to 
three shifts cannot be made public without violating that 
secrecy which prevails in all competitive industries. But 
Robert A. Bull, in a paper before the American Foundry- 
men's Association, published the results of a change from 
two shifts to three shifts on the open-hearth furnaces of the 





Commonwealth Steel Company "which," he says, "indicates 
fully a more economical and efficient manipulation of both 
open-hearth and boiler furnaces." Major Bull is an ac- 
knowledged expert and authority on open-hearth steel manu- 
facture ; twice President of the American Foundrymen's As- 
sociation. He has been instrumental in changing other open- 
hearth plants from two to three shifts, even in the center 
of America's competitive stsel industry, the Pittsburgh Dis- 
trict. He is still of the opinion that the savings in cost of 
operation, quality of product and uniformity of operation and 
output, fully compensate for the expense of working the 
"continuous-operation" laborers on three shifts instead of two 
shifts. This opinion is based on the "fifty-fifty" basis ; that 
is, labor and profits each sharing in the cost of employing the 
extra number of men necessary. It is also predicated on the 
change being made in the right way and under the right con- 
ditions, as already explained in Chapter XVII. 

In this opinion of the possible savings equalling the extra 
cost. Major Bull is supported by at least two other steel 
experts, and one blast-furnace operator. It is right to state, 
however, that other executives express the belief that the cost 
of three shifts is slightly greater than the cost of two shifts, 
especially if the total extra labor cost is to come out of profits. 
(In this connection, as to blast furnaces, see pages 275-6.) 



It is a common observation that 90 per cent, of the total 
cost of iron or steel is of labor. Some one might then argue 
that increasing the labor costs by 25 per cent, would increase 
the total costs 22.5 per cent. In actual results, however, the 
figures do not work out that way, unless we increase the labor 









cost right through from ore in the ground. Let us illustrate 
this by an example of cost of making pig iron : 

Ck)8T OF Making Pig Iron 

Per ton 

Raw materials $9.31 

Flux 56 

Fuel 4.68 

Operating labor 1-27 

Overhead and other expenses 79 

Total cost $16.61 

On this basis the labor cost appears as only 7.7 per cent 
of the total cost. 

It may be urged, of course, that overhead and materials 
are also composed chiefly of labor, which makes the total cost 
consist chiefly of labor. However, from the standpoint of 
cost involved in adopting the three-shift system, we may dis- 
regard the labor cost of raw materials and flux, as well as 
overhead, because they are not manufactured by "continuous- 
operations." No changes would occur in these cost items if 
all the "continuous-operations" were changed from the two- 
shift to the three-shift basis. It is true that the operation of 
making coke from coal is a "continuous-operation," but the 
labor cost of this also is but a fraction of the cost of the fueL 

Labor Cod Only a Small Proportion of Total Cods 

The cost of making pig iron quoted above is the cost of 
making 119,081 tons of pig iron in the year 1907, and is 
taken from "Tariff Hearings Before the Committee on Ways 
and Means of the House of Representatives, Schedule 0, 
Part 1," page 1421. These cost figures are, of course, now 
long out of date; costs have increased since that time, but 
there has been no material change in the relation of operating 



labor costs to total costs; whatever change there has been has 
operated to decrease the relative proportion of labor costs. 

In other words, considering the blast-furnace operation 
in and by itself, the labor cost is not more than 8 per cent, of 
the total manufacturing cost; if, therefore, we change the 
blast furnace labor to the three-shift system and thereby in- 
crease the operating labor cost per ton of pig iron by 40 per 
cent, we would only increase the total manufacturing cost by 
3.2 per cent. It is true that the wages of blast-furnace labor 
were increased almost 40 per cent, in some cases when the 
three-shift system was adopted in the United States in 1921 
by companies which adopted it merely for the purpose of 
keeping more men employed and made no special effort to 
effect compensating economies in operation, but so large an 
increase as 40 per cent, is not necessary when the change is 
made in the right way, as already pointed out in Chapter 
XVII. In any event, it is evident that the cost of pig iron 
will not be greatly increased by changing the blast furnaces 
to the three-shift system. 

On page 1766 of the "Tariff Hearings" just referred to 
we have the average cost of making Bessemer pig iron in the 
United States from 1902 to 1906. The tonnage represented 
is 61,900,000 tons. The proportion of labor cost to total cost 
is 5.5 per cent., which indicates a still lower figure as the 
cost of changing to the three-shift system. 

When we come to the Bessemer process itself, the case 
is somewhat different, but here again the matter is not very 
serious in cost per ton. The raw material is pig iron, and 
its cost will be higher because of the labor increase in that 
department due to the change to the three-shift system. Then 
we must assume that the operating labor in the Bessemer 
department will increase, say, 25 per cent. Thus we may 
have a total increase in cost per ton of 5 to 5.5 per cent, maxi- 







In the open-hearth department we are worse off for the 
lact that operating labor is about 7 per cent, of the total cost 
per ton, but this is offset very largely by the fact that the raw 
material consists on the average of at least 50 per cent, of 
Bteel scrap, whose price is determined by market conditions, 
and is not affected by the three-shift system. Even if we do 
not effect economies in practice which offset a good part of the 
extra wage-rate due to the three-shift system, the increased 
cost per ton will be only a little over a dollar per ton. The 
fact is, moreover, that a good deal of the open-hearth steel 
made yearly in the United States is made by labor already 
working on the three-shift system. 

In the rolling mill operations which concern us — ^bloom- 
ing mills, slab mills, billet mills, wire rod mills, plate mills, 
etc. — the operating men on "continuous-operations" represent 
but a small fraction of the total cost. They are the lever men, 
who operate the levers that actuate the rolls, the roll tables, 
the shears, etc., the heating furnace men, etc. It is true that 
there is also a large gang of crane men, maintenance men — 
that is, the millwrights, electricians, etc., who keep the equip- 
ment in order and the laborers who are called upon when 
needed to remedy trouble— but the maintenance men and 
laborers usually work but a small part of the time, and it has 
been found possible in many plants to work them on two ten- 
hour shifts. The number of crane men and lever men has 
been a good deal reduced in the process of changing from the 
twelve-hour work day to the three-shift system. 

Obviously, these different figures will vary somewhat for 
different localities and even for different plants in the same 
general locality. But this is true of all costs. For example, 
Judge Gary testified, in June, 1922, that the United States 
Steel Corporation, which has plants in all the districts of the 
country east of the Mississippi River, could produce about 
three dollars per ton cheaper than the independent companies. 



This represents about 5 per cent, of the manufacturing cost 
of most large products. The economy of operation is not a 
function of the locality of the plant. 

If, therefore, we could secure technical and commercial 
advantages through the adoption of the three-shift system 
no greater than the advantages which the Steel Corporation 
has over its competitors, the economies resulting therefrom 
would at least absorb the cost of' the added labor, without 
drawing on profits. This is offered to show that we are not 
expecting unreasonable things of the system to ask it to make 
that technical advance, through increasing the efficiency of 
labor and through better conduct of the operation. 




Reference has been made to the opinion of experts who 
believe that the greater efficiency of labor, and other saving 
circumstances, such as repairs, overhead, waste, quality, labor 
turnover, etc., make the three-shift system an economic and 
commercial advance. But these opinions cannot be supported 
by figures because cost figures are necessarily surrounded by 
the utmost secrecy. And the opinion of those who think 
there is a slight balance in favor of the three-shift system is 
opposed by the contrary opinion held by others who also have 
had experience with both systems. However, there are some 
instances of actual labor savings which have been communi- 
cated to me personally with permission to include them here, 
on the understanding that no company names are mentioned. 

The Rod Roller, 

Gne of the most conspicuous of these is at a Garrett wire 
rod mill in a competitive center, which changed from two to 
three labor shifts several years ago, and is still operating its 
"continuous-operation" labor on eight-hour shifts. 


^^Ug, f. «-^". ■.-■ 

I- ^o* ■!/% 






The work of a rod roller at Garret mills is hazardous, hot 
and severe. The roller stands in the midst of three or four 
coils of white-hot, rapidly moving bands of steel. The point of 
metal shoots from between the rolls at the rate of about a 
mile a minute at maximum speed, because it must be rolled 
so fast that the heat produced by the mechanical kneading of 
the metal shall more than counteract the radiation from the 
1-inch section of rod. It is actually hotter at the end of the 
rolling than it was when it came from the furnace. The roller 
catches it deftly in his tongs, swings the end around in a 
circle, so that the swiftly-moving rod forms a long coil on his 
side of the roll train, and then passes it back between the 
rolls, to be caught by his "buddy" on the opposite side. This 
operation must be performed in time to turn back and catch 
the next rod as it comes through. Always there are several 
writhing coils on both sides of the train of rolls. The least 
mistake or lack of attention is almost certain to result in an 
accident which may cause loss of metal being rolled or of 
human life. 

Obviously this work requires the maximum of expertness 
and attention, and it is universal to have a double set of rollers 
on each twelve-hour shift, relieving each other at intervals. 
But at the mill now in question the double crews on twelve- 
hour shifts were changed several years ago to single crews on 
eight-hour shifts, with a saving of 25 per cent, of the labor. 
This saving has been continued ever since, with apparent suc- 

It is not the function of this discussion to comment on the 
humanitarian aspect of the change, but if it be urged that 
such a saving, which involves working men under severe 
strain for eight hours continuously, is a hardship, then the 
answer may be made that from the technical standpoint, we 
may change all the double crews on twelve-hour shifts to 
single crews on eight-hour shifts and allow each of them 




relief for 25 per cent, of the time — ^that is, for two hours out 
of every eight-hour shift — ^without using any more labor than 
is employed at present. Each man would work, say, one hour 
and then be relieved for twenty-four minutes. It is evident 
that if it has been done satisfactorily for so many years with- 
out any relief for eight hours, then it can be done with cor- 
responding increase of efficiency if five rest periods of twenty- 
four minutes each are interposed. 


Crane Men. 

Another example of saving is a case of work on cranes 
which was very severe because the men were exposed to strong 
heat. They declined to work, even with some intervals of 
relief during the twelve-hour shift, unless "oilers" were em- 
ployed to take care of the motors and mechanism on the 
bridge. But when the eight-hour shift was introduced, they 
voluntarily tended both levers and bridge mechanism with 
consequent saving of 25 per cent, of the number of men em- 

In another case, the men themselves, in a spirit of good 
will resultant upon the introduction of the eight-hour shift, 
pointed out a slight change whereby three men per turn 
could be reduced to two men per shift. It is true that in 
time the management might have noticed this possible saving 
itself, but it had not done so for years, and men who are 
closely engaged in a manual operation can often see improve- 
ments which an onlooker may overlook. 

Pitmen and Bottom Men. 

Two other instances are: pitmen in an open-hearth mill, 
where two men working the twelve-hour shift were replaced 
by single men on the eight-hour shift, and bottom men on 
soaking pit furnaces, where one man on the shorter shift re- 




! I 


placed two men on the twelve-hour shift. The open-hearth 
pitmen work around the hot slag and keep the pit clean; 
their work is severe both physically and from the heat-en- 
durance standpoint. A somewhat spectacular account of this 
work was given in the Atlantic Monthly for May, 1922, aa 
an introduction to an article on the policies and practices of 
the U. S. Steel Corporation. The soaking pit furnaces heat 
steel ingots while they are standing on end preparatory to 
rolling them to blooms; slag, scale, etc., collect in the bottom 
of these furnaces, and the work of cleaning them out is se- 
vere. In this case, as in the example of the open-hearth 
"cinder snappers," or pitmen, it is a matter of opinion 
whether two-man crews on the twelve-hour shift is not over- 
manning, and one-man crews on the eight-hour shift is not 
under-manning, but the examples are here cited as instances 
of actual experience. 

Other Cases. 

There are other cases of a more general nature. For in- 
stance, the management of a plant which changed from two to 
three shifts, Suid has been working the shorter shift for a 
period of years, declares that less labor is used both on the 
open-hearth platform and in the pit. It is true that at least 
a part of this saving is due to the use of labor-saving appli- 
ances which might have been installed without introducing 
the three-shift system, but there are a very great many plants 
which lack some or all of these labor-saving appliances and 
which could introduce them with profit. The interest and 
maintenance charges against these appliances, plus their cost 
for power, constitute only a small fraction of the labor cost 
per ton of metal in open-hearth practice. 

A second plant advises me of its experience in full con- 
firmation of the result stated in the preceding paragraph. 
Furthermore, this experience proves that the saving is due at 



least in part to the increased ability and efficiency of the men 
working the shorter shift, quite independent of the labor- 
saving appliances. And if any plant management in the 
country claims to be as fully equipped with labor-saving ap- 
pliances in its open-hearth department as possible, it can be 
asserted confidently that this Is not so, although, doubtless, 
many plants believe themselves to be fully equipped, or at 
least, to be as fully equipped as the plant management thinks 

Still Miother plant reports that its rolling mill crews in- 
creased their efficiency by more than 60 per cent., after 
changing from two to three shifts, and that in the tin house, 
the number of men on accessory operations was reduced when 
the change was made from twelve-hour to ten-hour shifts. It 
may be argued that the improvement was possible because 
this particular plant was below the standard of efficiency, or 
of discipline, before the change, but there appears no justifi- 
cation for such a charge. And the management of the plant 
in question asserts as the lesson of its experience on two shifts 
and on three shifts, that wherever the work is very taxing, 
either from the physical or the heat-exposure conditions, men 
can do as much work in eight hours as they can do in twelve. 
This assertion is, of course, quoted here as bearing upon the 
evidence under discussion, not as an accepted generalization. 
Other executives — as has been stated previously — ^with ex- 
perience with both systems of labor employment, declare 
that men do not produce so much in eight hours as in twelve 

This part of the discussion may be appropriately con- 
cluded with the statement of a technical truth which we be- 
lieve is universally accepted, namely : that what can be tech- 
nically accomplished in one or two instances can be repeated 
as a matter of regular practice, provided the conditions are 
understood and repeated. Therefore, if these examples of 




labor economy can be made at any plant, they can be made 
at all plants where the same conditions are repeated. 



There are at least two instances in which the skill, care, 
uniformity, expertness and attention of the workmen have 
so important an effect on the cost of the operation that it has 
proved economical, in some cases, to work them eight hours 
instead of twelve hours. It cannot be asserted that it is uni- 
versally cheaper to pay 50 per cent, higher labor costs per 
ton of product for these skilled operations, but only that it 
has proved cheaper in certain cases where careful records 
have been kept. The two operators in question are: the scale 
car man at blast furnaces, and the blower of the Bessemer 
converter. Each of these men receives a wage which is from 
a fraction of a cent per ton of product to about two cents per 
ton of product. A slight increase in expertness or attention 
on the part of either may save several times the wages paid 
them. If the converter blower comes to work insufficiently 
rested or suffering from a bilious attack the temperature of 
the metal and the percentage of second quality product may 
vary so far from the standard as to run into hundreds of dol- 
lars in a day. 

There is a difference of opinion as to whether the shorter 
shift will make an important difference in the expertness of 
the blower, but careful records and observation in one case, 
and general experience in more than one other case, have con- 
vinced the management that the cost of the shorter shift is 
far exceeded by its savings. This conclusion may be attacked 
on technical grounds, and therefore a little space given to it 
may be necessary. 



The Converter Blower, 

The converter blower is the man who judges by eye the 
temperature and the chemical conduct of the Bessemer proc- 
ess. His cooperation is encouraged by paying him a wage 
based on the product of the Bessemer mill. His observation 
of the flame issuing from the mouth of the converter deter- 
mines the practice as to increasing or decreasing the tempera- 
ture of the metal in the converter and the time at which the 
operation is stopped. His skill in operating the levers has 
its effect on determining the percentage of waste of metal. 
His control over the time when a vessel is put into service 
every twenty minutes or so determines the regularity with 
which the supply of metal coming into the mill may be main- 
tained, so as to give the least interference and the greatest 
rate of flow. The Bessemer mill is run on the principle of 
a cycle of short operations, repeated a great many times, and 
each adjusted to the other so as to minimize the interferences 
and delays. On the regularity with which the ingots — or 
train loads of ingot cars — ^flow from this mill, depends the 
economy of operation of the rolling mill which usually it 

It has been said of some skilled operations in steel mills 
that they are performed better at the end of a twelve-hour 
shift than at the beginning. I have never heard this said of 
the converter blowing and my own observation and experi- 
ence of several years would oppose such an assertion. It 
might be said that if the blower misused his extra four hours 
of leisure, he would do his work worse on three shifts than on 
two, but this is a case for discipline. It happens that the 
supply of converter blowers is ample for at least the next de- 
cade and that they may be trained without special difficulty. 
Discipline may be applied better on the three-shift system 
than on the two-shift system because men are more attracted 
to these jobs when the hours are shorter. 









The Scale Car Man. 

The scale car man at the hlast furnaces operates an elec- 
tric larry, which travels under a series of storage bins at the 
back of the furnace. The larry receives its load from one of 
these bins, weighs it, controls the weight in accordance with 
the "burden'^ established by the proper official, carries it to 
the foot of the furnace and dumps it into the charging skip, 
which in turn conveys it to the mouth of the furnace. Opera- 
tion of the larry is arduous because it requires care, close at- 
tention, and is of a monotonous character. 

So far as has been learned, no scale car men are able to 
work steadily for twelve hours, and no one has ever said that 
their attention or regularity was better at the end of a twelve 
hour shift. The regularity with which the furnace is charged 
is the chief factor in determining the temperature of the 
top gases, and affects the fuel economy of the operation. In 
the best practice, the amount of coke used per ton of pig iron 
made will be from 1,800 to 2,000 lbs. ; this will cost, say seven 
dollars per ton of pig. (Of course, this rate will vary 
enormously, depending on the location.) If the fuel economy 
falls off as little as 1 per cent., the cost per ton of pig would 
be increased seven cents, representing thirty-five dollars to 
forty-five dollars loss in twenty-four hours. It is easy to see 
how increased loyalty and efficiency on the part of the scale 
car man can run into profits on production. 

Therefore, the efficiency of the scale car man is kept up 
by relieving him at intervals during twelve-hour shifts. This 
is done in at least three different ways. He may be allowed 
resting periods, with the result that the stock-line level falls, 
the top-gas temperature rises in consequence and a certain 
loss of fuel economy is endured. Or, secondly, an extra man 
may be employed for a group of several blast furnaces who 
relieves the scale car men in succession, besides doing other 
work, such as keeping stock records. Or, finally, the skip 



operator may relieve the scale car man at intervals, which 
usually involves some irregularity in the operation of the 
charging skip. At the most modem furnaces, however, 
records are kept automatically of the stock-line level, the top- 
gas temperature and the r^ularity of operation of the charg- 
ing skip, and discipline is applied when any irregularity in 
these records is shown and cannot be properly explained. But 
it is the observation of many blast-furnace superintendents 
that regularity cannot be maintained on the twelve-hour basis. 
Where the scale car man works only eight hours, the state- 
ment has been made that he is able to do his work regularly 
and continuously for his whole shift 

Possible Economies in Rolling Mills, 

Such slight experience as has been collected from those 
who have employed rolling mill labor on the twelve-hour shift 
and the eight-hour shift, indicates a decided increase of 
efficiency of the lever men, when working on the shorter shift, 
manifested in increased output, fewer repairs, and less 
"cobbles" (pieces in process which have met with accident 
and must be scrapped). There is also some compensating 
economy in the elimination of "spell hands,'' who take the 
place of the lever men at intervals, in order to give them rest 
and relief; this relief is necessary on the twelve-hour shift 
but can be dispensed with in part, or altogether, on the eight- 
hour shift. 



Except in those cases where we can show a saving because 
of increased labor efficiency and a saving on account of im- 
proved quality, regularity of operation, etc., it is evident that 
all operations of the iron and steel industry will be more 





I ' 









: ) 

i » 


costly per ton of output when working three shifts than when 
working two shifts. There are many cases in which, as will 
be obvious to everyone acquainted with the subject, it is not 
possible to lower the cost per ton by working three shifts in- 
stead of two shifts. For example, the engineers in boiler 
houses and power plants have very little to do except watch 
and tend the machinery or fires. In the case of the boiler 
houses, better attention might be given by men working the 
shorter shift, and better attention may give lower costs, but 
certainly in the engine room, so far as the investigator has 
learned, the operation is so regular and break-downs are so 
infrequent that increase of efficiency on the part of the men 
could have little result in lowering costs. The subject has 
been considered at some length in connection with this study, 
but it does not seem probable that a difference of opinion will 
be met, at least as far as steel works power plants are con- 
cerned, and therefore a discussion does not seem warranted. 
The amount of money involved is not very large, because a 
few engineers are spread very thin over a great tonnage pro- 
duced in a large plant, and if a change were made to three 
shifts, it would doubtless be based on humanitarian, political 
or psychological grounds. 

In the case of those men who keep the equipment in good 
condition, and who are known variously as maintenance men, 
millwrights, electricians, it is now common practice — ^though 
not universal — for them to work on two shifts of ten hours each, 
with twelve-hour shifts only in cases of emergency. Where 
they have been employed on eight-hour shifts they have often 
abused the privilege by working four or more hours at out- 
side shops, such as automobile repair shops, electric repair 
work, etc. Under good disciplinary conditions it is possible 
to prevent this, because it is recognized as unjust both to the 
plant that employs them and to their fellow-workmen, but 
where the three-shift system results from a victory of labor 



over the management, or where labor is arrogant or demoral- 
ized this and other abuses are rampant. This is clearly 
shown in the "Preliminary Memorandum Prepared by the 
International Labour Office, May 6, 1922." (See page 246.) 
Obviously, in the cases just mentioned, the labor costs 
per ton when working on three shifts of eight hours each, 
will be 50 per cent, higher than those when working on two 
shifts of twelve hours each. Some assert that the costs are 
even more than 50 per cent, higher, because labor is even less 
efficient on eight-hour shifts than it is on twelve-hour shifts. 
This assertion may be true in the experience of those who 
make it, but it is not true when the change is made wisely 
and the conditions are understood. 


There are many other departments of the iron and steel 
industry to which only incidental reference has been made 
in this book because they are either already operating very 
largely on the eight-hour shift in general principle, or else 
because the number of men involved is small in comparison 
with the number in the blast furnaces, the open-hearth mills 
and the rolling mills. Thus, some of the labor in the Besse- 
mer mills is operated on the eight-hour shift, some on two 
shifts of ten hours each. Puddling mills and crucible steel 
departments are decreasing in number, and the principle 
of the eight-hour shift is largely prevalent in them. Some of 
the finishing departments operate on two shifts of ten hours 
each and some operate only during daylight hours. In any 
event, the finishing departments would probably follow the 
practice of the prime producers. 





# I I 




^ { 

I « 



Regaeding the elimination of peak labor loads, it' is well 
to note that the severity of the labor involved in a manual 
operation may be due either to great physical exertion de- 
manded, such as carrying heavy loads of pig iron a distance 
of a hundred feet or so, repeated many times in the course 
of two hours; or to exposure to very high temperature, such 
as repairing the tap-hole of an open-hearth furnace; or to 
both together, such as cleaning up a mess of semi-liquid slag, 
or shovelling broken metal into a ladle containing one hun- 
dred tons or more of white-hot steel. 

If we could know just when peak loads would occur, it 
would greatly simplify the problem of carrying them, but the 
peak loads which result from break-downs are obviously 
going to occur at times impossible to predict, and the in- 
evitable irregularities of furnace operation bring peak loads 
sometimes at one hour of the day and sometimes at another. 
This irregularity prevents the handling of the peaks by an 
extra gang, working only when needed. And so we must 
always have on hand a crew of men sufficient to handle the 
maximum load that the process is going to require, with the 
certain result that some or all of these men are going to lack 
occupation when the labor requirements of the operations 
are small. 

Labor Requirements. 

This will be made more clear, perhaps, by reference to 
Fig. 1, which is an idealized representation of peak and val- 
ley loads at a furnace during a twenty-four-hour interval. 









The labor requirements of the process are indicated by 
the ordinates, and the hours of the day by the abscissae; the 
twelve-hour shift is indicated by the broken line, and the 
eight-hour shifts by the dotted lines. The curved line repre- 
sents the labor requirements at the different hours. For 
simplicity it is made more regular than will usually be the 
fact. From this curved line it is evident that the maximum 
labor requirement is ten men; and therefore, ten men must 
always be on duty; with the two-shift system this means 
twenty men to cover the twenty-four hours; with the three- 
shift system it would be thirty men. But, now, if we could 
eliminate the peaks in the labor loads ; smooth them out and 
distribute them evenly over the twenty-four hours, the line 
E-F would represent the average labor requirement of the 
process, and six men would handle it. That is, 12 men would 
be required per day on the twelve-hour shift or eighteen men 
per day on the eight-hour shift, fewer than are required to 
take care of the peak loads working the twelve-hour shift. 

This, then, is what is meant by the peak loads involving 
the necessity of having men on hand who lack occupation 
during certain phases of the furnace operation. It is obvious 
that, under the conditions just mentioned, the ten men, work- 
ing eight hours, cannot exert a reasonable amount of energy 
during their day's labor. 

Partial Belief Through Labor-saving Devices. 

It is also evident that if we could handle the greater part 
of all the peak loads by labor-saving devices, as few as four 
men could take care of all the rest of the labor requirements 
and would work pretty steadily during their shift. This 
achievement would solve the three-shift problem by making 
the practice economical, by giving each man steady work for 



eight hours and allowing him sixteen hours per day for rest 
and recreation. It would also make the labor requirements 
so constant that a man working twelve hours would be un- 
fairly taxed, and the usual double shift, that is, the twenty- 
four-hour shift which comes every two weeks when changing 
shift, would be a real hardship. 

It is not here claimed that the technical advances in the 
iron and steel industry have accomplished so much as is in- 
dicated above in eliminating almost all the peak load by 
means of labor-saving devices, but they have done a great 
deal. For example, comparing an old-fashioned blast fur- 
nace, without labor-saving devices with a modem furnace 
equipped as it should be : the former will make, say two hun- 
dred and forty tons of pig iron per day with about forty men 
per shift, or eighty men per twenty-four hours, an average of 
three tons of pig iron per man per day. The modem furnace 
will make six hundred tons of pig iron with one-half the 
number of men to do the same work* ; an average of fifteen 
tons of pig iron per operating man per day. This advance 
is due to mechanical and other labor-saving devices as noted 
below, page 272. 

It is true that even with this advance the peak loads are 
not yet eliminated from the blast-furnace operation, but they 
are greatly reduced, so that one of the most modem of Ameri- 
can blast furnaces keeps its men steadily occupied on what 
the management believes is economical work for the whole of 
three eight-hour shifts per day. (See page 231.) Further- 
more, the management of this fumace believes that what peak 
loads do occur can be handled with slightly fewer men work- 
ing the eight-hour shift than working the twelve-hour shift, 
on account of increased efficiency and morale. 

*Thi8 does not include power house, etc. 






I ♦ 



Variation in Peak Loads According to Department. 

The peak and valley loads, shown in Fig. 1, are not ex- 
aggerated for the normal practice of the blast furnace. For 
the open-hearth furnace the irr^ularities will still be great, 
but not so great (under good modern practice of labor-saving 
appliances) as at the blast furnace, except when accidents, 
delays or interruptions occur. In the case of the Bessemer 
mill and the rolling mills, the normal irregularities are still 
less, but especially in the case of the rolling mills, idle periods 
due to break-downs, with consequent peak loads for the 
"maintenance men," are not uncommon. Now-a-days they 
occur much less frequently than a decade or two ago, on ac- 
count of mechanical improvements and use of electrical 
power. They are a great source of added expense in manu- 
facturing cost per ton of output, not so much on account of 
the cost of repairs, but because of delays and interruptions, 
which decrease output and correspondingly increase overhead 
and labor expense per ton. Any added efficiency of the men 
as regards greater care or alertness in preventing accidents 
or delays, more expert operation of the levers to increase out- 
put, avoiding mistakes or false moves, will make itself evident 
immediately in improved practice which lowers costs. 

Advamiages With Three-shift System, 

Consider now the question of peak loads occurring nor- 
mally in furnace operations, as illustrated in Fig. 1. A peak 
load will be noted as coming at the eleventh hour of the first 
twelve-hour shift; this shift is already fatigued by handling 
two peak loads ; the temptation will be, if not actually to delay 
operations so as to defer this peak load until the next crew 
comes on duty, at least to avoid hastening matters so as to 
get the full work to do. This is not a theory; it is a common 



experience ! Even a loyal foreman cannot have the same re- 
gard for the dividends of an absent, and almost mythical, 
stockholder as for the fatigue of men, who in hot weather 
and under conditions of furnace irregularity are sometimes 
in a pitiable state of exhaustion. 

Those who have not seen the three-shift system in suc- 
cessful operation may argue that whereas this delaying of the 
peak load so as to "let George do it" can come only twice dur- 
ing the twenty-four hours on the two-shift system, it will come 
three times on the three-shift system, and that the result will 
be worse delay than before. Much time has been given to 
studying this question at plants working on the three-shift 
system, with former experience on the two-shift system, and 
the testimony received has been universally in favor of the 
three-shift system, for four reasons : 

1. The men are not fatigued by eight hours' work; the 

temptation to shirk is not so great. 

2. Discipline is better ; you cannot put much pressure on 

a man when he is so tired that he is almost ready to 

3. A long rest is coming. 

4. There is not the same bitter feeling towards the work 

which the long shift sometimes engenders. 


When a modern blast furnace is tapped and one hundred 
and twenty-five tons of liquid metal run out into the cast 
house, the labor of taking care of this product is immense, as 
well as the labor of making the cast house ready for the cast. 
Even the labor of opening the tap-hole used to be great on 
some occasions, but this is now minimized by the use of oxy- 
gen to bum a hole through. The labor of closing the hole is 










/ . 







now much less, on account of the use of the "mud gun" to do 
this work. 

Improvements in Recent Years. 

The first reduction of labor in the cast house came 
through the use of jib cranes wherever a place could be found 
to support them ; then of travelling cranes spanning the cast 
house ; then of pig breakers" to eliminate the sledge hammer 
to break the pigs away from the sow. Finally, the cast house 
was dispensed with entirely and the liquid pig iron was al- 
lowed to run directly into ladles supported on railroad cars, 
and taken away from the blast furnace to be stored in reser- 
voirs until wanted at the steel works, or else cast into pigs 
in mechanical pig-casting machines. The last word in labor 
economy is to get the runners so short, by good design of the 
furnace house, that we shall have the minimum length of 
"skull," because some iron chills in these runners, forms a 
"skull" and has to be broken up and disposed of. 

The cast house crew used to consist of: 

One keeper. 

One first helper. 

Four to eight assistant helpers, who used to prepare the 
"pig beds" to receive the liquid iron ; open and close the tap- 
hole ; run the cast ; look after the runners, etc. 

Four to eight iron carriers. 

One "cinder snapper." 

One "scrap man," 

One man to look after the hot blast stoves. 

This crew can now be reduced to: 

One keeper. 

Two helpers. 

One "cinder snapper." 

One hot blast man. 


When working eight hours instead of twelve, the crew 
IS reduced to four men, one of the helpers being eliminated, 
and it is even said that it might be reduced to three, if the 
runners could be made so short that the "mud man" and the 
scrap man could both be dispensed with. 

Back of the furnace we used to have piles of ore, flux, and 
coke from which piles shovellers filled hand buggies which 
were wheeled to the foot of the furnace, weighed, carried up 
m an elevator, and dumped into the top. It took more than 
twenty men to do this work. 

Now-a-days back of the furnaces is a long line of bins, 
which are filled directly from the railroad cars which brin^ 
them to the plant, or else by great gantry cranes which span 
the storage piles and the storage bins. Underneath these 
bins runs an electric larry, as described elsewhere, 
which eliminates much manual labor. Instead of the twenty- 
three men who used to handle eight hundred tons of material 
charged into the furnace, six or eight men now handle more 
than 2,000 tons of "burden" or "stock." 

Advantages With Three Shifts. 

This "stock pile" work, or filling, is not subject to peak 
labor loads, as is the work in front of the furnace, which 
increases every time the furnace taps, say five times in 
twenty-four hours. Consequently the fiUers do not normally 
get any resting periods in their twelve-hour shifts. Theo- 
retically there are enough men to overman the job, and the 
filling crew can rest at intervals, provided the furnace is kept 
always full. In practice it usually works out that the man- 
agement makes a concession to the fiUers by which they are 
allowed a half-hour's rest occasionally, with the result already 
noticed, however, of some reduction in furnace efficiency. 



' I 



,« i 





Contrast this with the practice of the Ford Motor Com- 
pany's blast furnace at River Rouge, which is run on an 
eight-hour shift and a forty-eight-hour week. An automatic 
record is kept of the height of the stock line in the furnace, 
the temperature of the top gases, and the times at which the 
charging skip makes its trips ; any deviation from regularity 
in these particulars is checked up and explained. The high 
wages and short hours prevailing there make it possible to 
enforce the most rigid discipline where necessary, and no 
concessions of furnace efficiency are made to provide resting 
periods for the men. Indeed, resting is not permitted; the 
men must keep occupied during the full hours of labor. This 
applies to the labor in front of the furnace, as well as to the 
fillers and stock men. 

We cannot prove that a lower efficiency of stockline level 
is universal in connection with the twelve-hour shift, nor yet 
that a substantial improvement in this efficiency would pay 
the labor bill for an extra crew to work the eight-hour shift, 
but it has been a result of observation that the stock-line level 
is maintained more nearly uniform in the plants on the eight- 
hour shift than in those on the twelve-hour shift. This is one 
of the ways in which the eight-hour shift can help pay for 
itself, and reduction of the crew in front of the furnace, and 
better work of this crew, is another way. Of the crew of men 
filling the furnace only about five out of the six or eight are 
today working on a twelve-hour shift ; the others, such as the 
men who keep the ore pockets (i. e. the ore bins) full, often 
work two shifts of ten hours eacL 

It will be noted that if sufficient labor were added to put 
all the blast-furnace men, now on twelve hours, on an eight- 
hour basis, the increased cost would only be about thirty cents 
to forty cents per ton of pig iron, even if no compensating 
economies were secured therewith. (See page 253.) 


Additional Economies Possible, 

What are some of the possible economies if the change 
were made ? ^ 

1. The possible reduction in some of the crews has just 

been mentioned 

2. So has the increase in fuel efficiency due to more uni- 

form charging of the furnace. 

3. The elimination of the "floating gang" would reduce 

the labor bilL (See below, page 278.) 

4. Other economies are: Fewer absences; less tardiness: 

reduced labor turnover, ' 

5. It is emphaticaUy asserted by blast-furnace managers 

using the eight-hour shift that tie higher grade of 
labor attracted by shorter hours, greater care and 
alertness, better morale, and more skillful super- 
vision and operation are all reflected in a saving in 
cost of production, greater regularity of operation 
and quality of product, less interruptions, fewer ao- 
cidents or breakdowns, and less need of costly re- 
pairs to machinery. 

Unfortunately, cost figures are highly confidential and 
cannot be quoted or published. Therefore, these opinions 
cannot be supported by either statistics or figures. In more 
than one case furnace operators have assured the investigator 
that m their opinion, the cost of producing pig iron is less 
on the eight-hour than it is on the twelve-hour shift 

In this connection it is permissible to quote the manage- 
ment of the Ford Motor Company and say that although the 
blast furnace operates on the basis of eight hours per day and 
forty-eight hours per week per man, and labor is paid sev- 
enty-five cents and upwards per hour, as compared with 




■ 1 1 

' >l I 


^ 1 


twenty-seven and thirty cents per hour and upwards at other 
plan visited, nevertheless they make pig iron cheaper than 
they can buy it. They attribute this to greater efficiency of 
labor and of operation. 



In old-fashioned types of open-hearth furnaces where the 
charge is inserted by hand labor there is every reason to 
believe that the number of men employed in three crews 
working eight hours each would be no greater for the same 
amount of work than the number employed in two crews 
working twelve hours each. But the number of these old- 
fashioned types of open-hearth plants is small, and the 
relative importance warrants only a brief mention of the 

Adaptability of Three-shift system to Modem Plamis^ 

At modem plants the peak labor load comes at tapping 
time, which occurs from two to four times in the twenty-four 
hours. Between these times there are almost always many 
resting periods. The "pouring gang*' has its work only when 
the furnaces tap, and the steadiness of occupation of this 
gang depends on how often the furnaces tap and how many 
furnaces there are in the plant. This matter should obviously 
be arranged so as to keep this gang at work most of the time ; 
then it would not be a serious item of expense to increase their 
tonnage rate slightly and work them in three shifts, instead of 
in two shifts with resting periods. The same principle applies 
to the work of the gang preparing ladles for the "heats," which 
are the product of the "tap," i.e., the metal from the furnace. 
The total cost of the pouring gang and the gang that prepares 



the ladles for the heats is only a few cents per ton of steel, 
in a large modem plant, and the expertness and care with 
which they do their work has an important influence on the 
waste of finished product. 

The gang which repairs and relines the ladles may be 
employed on two shifts of ten hours each. The "pit gang," 
that is the gang which keeps the place cleaned up, which 
removes slag from the pit, disposes of material thrown down, 
or spilled, has a severe job. The work is hard, and there 
is danger and often exposure to heat. It has been found 
possible to decrease the size of the crews on this work when 
their daily hours are changed from twelve to eight 

It is the crew on the charging platform of the furnace 
which actually makes the steel The labor of this crew \b 
today greatly decreased by the "charging machine," which 
not only takes care of putting the steel-making materials in 
the fumace, but also charges the flux and ore during the 
course of the operation, and any pig iron needed for adjusting 
purposes. Electric appliances have also greatly decreased the 
work of this crew— for example, the electric appliance for 
raising the doors of the fumace has eliminated the "pull-up" 
boy who used to operate the hydraulic or manual appliance. 
There are also mechanical appliances for changing valves 
etc. The labor of the tapping operation used to be severe, 
but now oxygen is used to open a "hard" hole ; with proper 
care this leaves the hole in good condition, so that the former 
work of repairing this hole after the tap, while exposed to 
extreme heat, is now unnecessary ; if some work around the 
hole is needed, it can be done by compressed air. The 
shovelling of recarburizer into the ladle, while exposed to 
the extreme heat radiating from the liquid metal, has been 
replaced by a mechanical appliance, into which the recar- 
burizer is dumped from a wheel-barrow, and which then 








I-, t 


dumps it into the stream of metal as slowly or as fast as 
the operator desires. The worker in charge operates the 
appliance from a distance, where he can see all that goes on 
without being near the heat. The labor of repairing lining 
after tapping, which was always taxing, and which must be 
done rapidly in order to facilitate the regularity of the mill 
and reduce delays, may now be done by means of a mud-gun, 
which shoots a stream of repair material into the furnace at 
exactly the point desired. 

These labor-saving devices have eliminated all the oper- 
ations requiring severe physical endurance, or exposure to 
heat. They enable the furnace crew to do its work with less 
of a tax, and with greater speed. They have revolutionized 
the work on the furnace platform during the past decade. 

The Floating 0<mg vs. the Sunday Holiday. 

Formerly it was the custom to shut down open-hearth 
furnaces every week-end, but now they are often run con- 
tinuously for all the four to seven months of their campaign, 
with important saving in expense. This introduces the ex- 
pense of the "floating gang," unless the eight-hour shift is 
in vogue. The "floating gang" is an auxiliary crew of 
laborers which takes the place of individual laborers in suc- 
cession for one day each week. This is an arrangement by 
which the workers on a two-shift system are given a six-day 
week. It is a great and kindly relief from the old seven-day 
week system, when a man worked eighty-four hours per week 
for fifty-two weeks of the year, but it is open to strong objec- 
tion on the part of the men. They want the free day on 
Sunday; on other days of the week they cannot enjoy the 
freedom so much ; only a fraction of the time does the "float- 
ing gang" system give each man a Sunday ofF. While this 
is primarily a sociological question it has its technical aspect, 



because it results in men leaving the work for other indus- 
tries, large labor turnover, irregularity of work, etc. 

Departments Operated on Sunday. 

Blast furnaces and open-hearth furnaces are operated 
most economically if run without cessation until their linings* 
are worn out and they must be shut down for extensive 
repairs. This means a continuous campaign of some months 
in the case of open hearth, and of some years in the case of 
blast furnace. In the Bessemer mill, the rolling mill, the 
several finishing departments, the tinning mill, 5ie galvan- 
izing department, the wire-drawing department, and some 
others, it is the custom, on the contrary, to discontinue the 
manufacturing operation from Saturday afternoon to about 
Sunday night. During this interval the repair gang may be 
very actively engaged, but the operating men, at least", have 
their Sunday free. For these men, therefore, the question 
of a seven-day week, "floating gang," etc., does not enter. 

Accordingly, in discussing the subject we shall confine 
ourselves to the blast furnaces and the open-hearth mill. 
These are the two great producing departments in the sense 
that one of them produces practically all the pig iron, and 
the other the greater part of the steel made in the country. 
The total number of men employed in these two departments 
is but a small proportion of the total number of iron and 
steel laborers. 

Cost of the Floating Gang vs, Sunday Holiday. 

It should be noted that the "floating gang" system adds 
one-seventh, 14.8 per cent, to the labor cost of the seven-day 
week system. 

., * J'?®' °***®^ P*^** °^ *^® open-hearth sometimes wear out ahead of 
the hnmgs, but the roof is included as a part of the lining, and the 
principle we are discussing here applies regardless of which part happens 
to fail first. *^*^ 




iil f^ 

.' «< 


The three-shift system gives every man an opportunity 
to enjoy his church and his family on Sunday, without in- 
volving the expense of the "floating gang," or the waste due 
to shutting down the open-hearth furnace at the week-end. 

One method of arranging the hours so as to accomplish 
this is shown in the following table: 

Wsek-End Changk of SEons on Thbeb-Shift SinsTSM 

First week 

Second week 

Third week 

First week 

12 n. 



12 n. 



12 n. 



12 n. 

















12 n. 



12 m. 



12 n. 







































Tu^ . . . 


Thun. . . . 







Thura . . 


Sat .. . 

Ann .... 









This table may be described as follows: 

Crew No. 1 works from midnight to 8 a. ic the flrst 

From 4 p. m. to midnight the second 

From 8 A. M. to 4 p. u, the third 


Crew No. 2 and Crew No. 3 work the other hours, as 

When the week-end change of shift occurs : 

Crew No. 1 gets from 8 a. m. on Saturday until 4 p. m. 
on Sunday free, — thirty-two hours. Each crew 
enjoys this freedom every third, week. 

Crew No. 2 gets from midnight on Saturday until mid- 
night on Sunday, 

Crew No. 3 gets from 4 p, m. on Sunday until 4 p. m. 
on Monday. 

The week-end system described above gives one crew 
longer daylight hours of work on Sunday than either of the 
other crews, but each crew takes this shift in succession, so 
it comes only once every three weeks for each man. It can 
be varied, if desired, so that Crew No. 3 comes to work at 
10 p. M. on Saturday and quits at noon on Sunday. Crew 
No. 1 relieves it at that time. Other variations are possible, 
according to the arrangement which best suits the men them- 

By this system each man works fifty-six hours per week. 

Twice in every three weeks each man works one con- 
tinuous shift of sixteen hours. This is severe, but not nearly 
so much so as working twelve hours a day for six days, and 
is a great improvement on the twenty-four-hour week-end 
shift which it replaces. An occasional sixteen-hour shift has 





not proved in practice to be exhausting when the men work 
only fifty-six total hours a week, and when it is either preceded 
by thirty-two hours of rest or else followed by twenty-four 
hours of rest. The twenty-four-hour shift, on the other hand, 
is followed by only twelve hours of rest, and it comes every 
second week instead of every third week. 

Importance of Care, Expertness, and Loyalty of Workers. 

The work of the open-hearth furnace is very dependent 
for its economical conduct on the care, expertness and loyalty 
of the men. There is no process in the industry wherein 
the men can more easily save, or waste, the company's money. 
If the crew approaches the end of its shift, it can easily 
defer the labor of tapping so that the next crew will have it 
to do, with consequent delay and loss of money; if a bad 
"puddle hole'' is observed in the bottom, it may be ignored, 
or only partially repaired, and a break-out may occur. Care 
will increase the life of the furnace, economise on lining 
materials, save fuel, improve quality, avoid "pigging up," 
for example. It is true that all these expert furnace men 
are paid on the tonnage basis, so that they have the incentive 
to exercise their best care and skill, but it is human nature 
to shirk a little when one is tired out by long hours of work. 




The twelve-hour day is strongly established in the iron 
and steel industry by long custom, and by its unusual adapta- 
bility to the requirements of this industry.^ However, recent 
progress in the industry has been in the direction of a shorter 
work-day, as well as a reduction in the proportion of those 
men who are on duty for seven days a week.* 

Peak Loads and the Twelve-hour Da/y. 

For some decades past the labor requirement of the iron 
and steel industry has included some peak loads of great 
intensity, from the standpoint of physical endurance, or of 
heat exposure, or both. Between these peak loads will come 
periods of rest, or of very light labor.' This type of labor 
requirement has been due in part to the special liability of 
iron and steel furnaces, rolling mills, or accessory apparatus, 
to break-downs, which necessitate intense activity of the 
^'maintenance men" until they are repaired, with consequent 
idleness of the other men. Another cause of peak and valley 
loads is the nature of the operations themselves: For ex- 
ample, during and immediately after the "tapping" of blast 
furnaces or open-hearth furnaces, all hands are subjected to 
severe labor. The same is true of the charging of the 
old-fashioned type of open-hearth fumaca This makes it 

*8ee page 221. 
*8ee page 226. 
■See Chapter XIX. 








almost imperative to rest thereafter, in the case of all three 

Recent improvements in equipment, and the adoption of 
electrical appliances, have greatly decreased the frequency 
and the duration of interruptions of the different processes 
due to break-downs, especially in the rolling mills. More- 
over, labor-saving devices, mechanical and others, have les- 
sened the severity of peak loads due to the processes them- 
selves, in respect both to physical endurance and to heat 

Peak Loads and Intermittent Laboring, 

Notwithstanding the improvements mentioned above, 
break-downs still occur at times, and the labor requirements 
of some of the processes are still variable. For this last 
reason, and because of habit due to established custom, it is 
usual to allow the men periods of rest while on duty, with 
the result that the twelve-hour shift is not always over-taxing, 
and the eight-hour shift is sometimes too short from the 
economic standpoint to employ the energy of the men to the 
best advantage. But this is not always so : When the blast 
furnace "goes on a bum," when emergencies arise in other 
departments, and often when a mill runs without interrup- 
tion and with unusual vigor, the eight-hour day. is long 
enough for any workmen, and it is not uncommon to meet 
emergencies when all hands are occupied with severe labor 
and have scarcely any opportunities for a few minutes' rest 
for twelve consecutive hours. 

In the majority of cases, however, labor at the blafit fur- 
naces and open-hearth furnaces is more or less variable and 
irregular. The more efficient, alert and careful the laborers, 
the less often will emergencies arise, and the fewer the 

•BeBides Chapter XIX, see pagei 228, 276. 

•For recent technical advances in the industry see pages 271 to 282. 

." V ? 



break-downs. This has been urged as one of the advantages 
of the eight-hour day, because the men are more alert and 

Laior-Saviti^ Devices and the Eight-Hour Day. 

To work three crews instead of two crews per twenty-four 
hours involves the necessity of increasing the labor costs per 
day, unless daUy wages per man are reduced, or unless we be- 
lieve that any four men, working only eight hours per day can 
do as much work per hour as six men working twelve hours 
It IB obvious that the six men will be ahnost as efficient and 
productive per hour as the four men provided they have so 
much resting time as to keep them in good condition. There- 
fore, anything which tends to eliminate peak loads and idle 
periods increases the relative efficiency per day of the eight- 
hour men as compared with that of the twelve-hour men, and 
consequently decreases the added labor-cost per ton of work- 
ing three shifts. 

Labor-saving devices also reduce the labor-cost per ton. 
by actually eliminating some of the labor. This factor ren- 
ders less serious an increase of the proportionate labor cost. 
(For example: If labor costs $1 per ton on the twelve-hour 
system, and it must be increased by 20 per cent, to adopt 
ttie eight-hour system, then the increase will be twenty cents 
But if, by means of labor-saving devices, the labor costs are 
reduced to sixty cents per ton on the twelve-hour system 
then a 20 per cent increase will only amount to twelve cent^ 
per ton.) 

To the last argument the objection may be made that 
cost reductions due to labor-saving devices should benefit 
the stockholders rather than the workmen, but this suggests 
the general principle stated at the outset, namely: That the 
mam object is to run the industry economically under com- 

• See pages 274 and 275. 




<f \ ' 




petitive conditions. The investigator has found that the 
majority of managers and executives interviewed believe that 
if by means of labor-saving devices the plant can be com- 
mercially operated upon an eight-hour shift system instead of 
a twelve-hour system, the good of the industry can be better 
served by eliminating the twelve-hour shift than by increas- 
ing dividends. 

Instances of Commercial Success of Eight-Hour Day. 

The circumstance that already many plants are operat- 
ing successfully under competitive conditions on the three- 
shift system ^ indicates that profits need not suffer, if the 
change is made with wisdom.* Opponents of the three-shift 
system explain these instances by declaring that they find 
always some special condition in the case of every plant that 
employs successfully the three-shift system: Either, it is 
urged, such plants are owned by the interest that purchases 
their product, and so do not have to compete, or else they 
are making a special product at a special price, or they are 
geographically removed from the center of competition, etc. 
But this argument does not always hold ; although it applies 

in many such cases. 

Even if the argument did hold good, it would not prevent 
the experience of these plants applying generally in the 
industry, because there are special circumstances operating 
in every iron and steel district of the country, whereby each 
has an advantage or disadvantage in competition which is 
far greater than the labor cost per ton as influenced by this 
problem. For example, it is well known that the cost of 
labor which must work at the blast furnaces either on the 
twelve-hour shift or the eight-hour shift is well under one 
dollar per ton of pig iron. If this sum be doubled it would 

» See pag« 244. 

• See pages 241, 245. 



still be small in comparison with the advantages some com- 
panies have because of wise purchasing policy, technical 
skill, low overhead and ample capital. Judge Gary testified 
before the Lockwood Committee in New York in June, 1922, 
that the U. S. Steel Corporation could produce at $3 per 
ton less than its competitors. 

Changing Systems — Necessary Conditions. 

The experience of those who have made the change from 
the twelve-hour shift to the eight-hour shift with commercial 
success gives very definite information as to the conditions 
which must be prepared in advance in order to produce the 
desired result; they include:® 

1. Having the equipment in satisfactory condition. 

2. Assuring the cooperation of the men in the change. 

3. Assuring that the necessary labor will be available. 

Likewise this experience indicates what conditions must 
be avoided if the change is to be made without disaster to 
the industry. ^^ For example the change should not be made: 

1. During a period of labor unrest. 

2. After strife, or when bitterness is rife and mutual 

confidence is lacking. 

3. When labor is arrogant, or elated by a defeat of the 


4. In too sudden a manner. 

5. Unless management is able to exert an influence upon 

labor to prevent tardiness, absence, deliberate shirk- 
ing, misuse of the extra hours of free time, etc., 
inasmuch as laxity in these matters will defeat the 
commercial benefits of the Three-shift System. 

•They are discugsed in full in Chapter XVTI. 
*See pages 240, 241, and 245. 


' ■./ 





Groundless Fears of the Eight-Hour SMft. 

It is said that some managers believe men to be more 
efficient on the twelve-hour shift than they would be on the 
shorter shift, and that they predicate this belief on their 
observation that the work is better done at the end of a long 
shift than at the beginning. The investigator never met a 
manager who took this position. In fact the position of 
every manager who has had experience with both systems 
has been that he invariably found the men more efficient on 
the shorter shift. 

The fear has been expressed that, if twelve hours' pay 
were given for eight hours' work, the men would soon ask 
for twelve hours' work at the advanced hourly rate. Con- 
cerning this there is a difference of opinion, with a rather 
general agreement that foreign laborers want to make the 
most money that the work will bring, regardless of how 
many hours they labor, but that the better class of laborers, 
and especially Americans, are satisfied with the shorter day 
if it brings a living wage. 

The remedy that has been applied with apparent success 
to the discontent which some show with the eight-hour shift 
is a very simple one, namely: Precede the change from 
twelve to eight hours' work by time observations to de- 
termine how much the crew would produce if working at 
some greater efficiency; then pay the same hourly rate for 
eight hours as for twelve, but add a bonus so adjusted that 
the men will earn the same daily wage as before, provided 
they work hard for eight hours. It is said with some posi- 
tiveness that, if the crew works as diligently as it can for 
eight hours, none of its members will be agitating for twelve 
hours' work; and it is also said that the crew, itself, can 
be relied upon to see that every man does his work without 
shirking; disciplinary measures are not necessary for this 




when a bonus depends on the result. The working of this 
plan was so good at one plant that the manager declares that 
eight hours' work with a bonus will pay for itself. 

When wages are paid to the twelve-hour men on the 
tonnage basis, they have an incentive to work hard and it 
is not reasonable to expect any greater efficiency for eight 
hours' work, unless the men are actually more capable on 
the shorter shift. 

Disadvwntages of the Twelve-Hour Shift. 

In some departments of the iron and steel industry twelve 
hours' work has been found too long for the men, and it is 
customary to have "spell hands" to relieve them at intervals." 
In at least one case," the crews are actually doubled, and 
each man works only one-half the time. Where the work 
is not so continuous, with peak and valley loads, the twelve- 
hour duty is not overtaxing, but another very serious objec- 
tion arises. It is customary for the night men to work thir- 
teen hours, and the day men, eleven hours; in cases of 
emergency at the furnaces (at the blast furnaces this is 
technically known as "going on a bum"), the night men, 
exhausted by thirteen hours of taxing labor, often find it 
impossible to get sufficient rest in their congested homes, 
especially in hot weather and when the children are at home 
from schooL 

In such a case it is not a matter of being exhausted by 
the labor, but of not having sufficient resting time between 
periods, so that they return to their work with lowered effi- 
ciency. On the eight-hour shift, they always have time to 
rest, and always some hours for sleep during darkness, when 
it is comparatively cool, and when the rest of the family is 

"See page 263. 
" See page 256. 











Deliberately to permit laborers to loaf while on duty is 
wrong from the standpoint of morale and discipline. A few 
minutes' breathing spell after exertion may be wise, but the 
peak and valley loads of the iron and steel industry require 
more than this, when operating on the twelve-hour shift. 
Our tacit acceptance of the sight of men idling, resting, and 
even sleeping, on duty is a relic of the days before the severe 
labor was performed by mechanical appliances. We forget 
that the principle of sleeping during paid time is evidence 
of economic waste. At some plants, although sleeping on 
the night shift is not officially tolerated, the practice is 
allowed to go unobserved, when the men are not needed. With 
the three-shift system, rest or sleep during working hours is 
not necessary, even at the blast furnace. ^^ 

Advantages of the Eight-Hour Shift. 

Results from working the eight-hour shift have disclosed 
the following advantages, which compensate in part for the 
extra cost of working three crews instead of two. It is not 
to be supposed that all of these advantages will be experienced 
in every case and in every department, but any of them may 
result when the hours of labor are reduced below twelve per 
day, in consequence of better care, better attention, better 
morale, or increased alertness or expertness on the part of 
the men : 

1. Increased efficiency, due in part to better physical 
and mental condition of the men, and in part (after 
the industry has been working the shorter hours for 
several months or years) to a better class of men 
attracted by better working conditions. This in- 
creased efficiency has manifested itself in increased 

'•See page 274. 



production per man per hour and per machine per 
day, thus decreasing overhead expense. It has also 
appeared in better conduct of the operations, greater 
uniformity and regularity of operation and of 
quality of product, less fuel used, less waste, less 
need of repairs to equipment, better life of appa- 
ratus, etc^* 

2. Better morale, resulting in less absences, lees tardiness, 
less shirking, and better discipline. The better dis- 
cipline is due in part to the spirit of the men, and 
in part to the pressure which the foreman can, and 
will, exert, because he does not have to hold back 
out of sympathy for tired men.** 

8. Elimination of the "floating gang."* This "floating 
gang" is an expedient, not a real remedy; it is an 
expense; it does not content the men, because it 
gives them their free day only occasionally on 

4. Finally, — an advantage which is not to be lightly 
considered, — in the event of labor disputes, the 
company which is working its men only eight hours 
a day enjoys much greater prestige with the public, 
whose influence in a labor dispute is always impor- 
tant. This influence may, indeed, be the factor 
which decides whether a strike is long and costly, 
or short and comparatively inexpensive. The twelve- 
hour shift, — even with resting periods, — Cleaves 
something to be explained to the public; necessi- 
tates a campaign of education at a time when the 
public is not always ready to be educated. 

" See pages 240 ff., 270 and 273. 
" See page 271. 
"See page 278. 




/ \ 

I I 

i N 

^Labor Costs. 

p2 liv . ,?* °*r "^"'"^-ot^'ed Product is com- 
posed chieflj of labor. To illustrate: Pig iron is made 

by meana of labor, out of ore, flux, aud fufl Th^cr of 
tte ma^enals used is far greater than the cost of the 1/ 
but labor produced the ore, the flu., and the fuel; and so^S 
can he shown that labor is the basis of aU cost, f one ^ 
^ck far enough In the iron and steel indust'ry, Z!^ 
^e proportion of the labor cost which is affi by Te 

aTtJ^t ^, "'"™ *" '^' iU"«t'ation: The ore, the flux 
Sft bLf "^ ^°\^-V^sent any labor on the twelve-hour 

Zr,- ^ V "^'"^'''S ^*^°' ^^ *^« manufacture of pig 
iron IS only from 5.5 per cent, to 8 per cent, of the Z!l 
manuf acturmg cost, while that much of it which still woS 
on the twelve-hour shift is a stiU lower percentage. So tha^ 
ttose persons who argue, as some do, that the cLge f^m 

tJltloZ. '" frf -^°- «^'^t -uld affect'an n 
crease m 90 per cent, of the cost of the product are dea]i„<r 
^ generalities which will not bear analyL ^ 

1 ..«*'"?' ''^ ^^^ "'^ "^ *^« open-hearth furnace- At 
M scrap, the price of which is determined by market con 

Finally, only a part of the laborers in the industry are 
working on a twelve-hour shift. If that proportion of the 

without, at the same time securing any compensating eco^ 
"Seepage 252. 



nomic advantages through increased efficiency, increased 
morale, etc., the total manufacturing cost would be affected 
by not more than 15 per cent., perhaps by no more than 3 per 
cent. This is, in most cases, less than the variations in cost 
already experienced by plants competing with one another, 
because of efficiency of equipment, technical skill, wisdom in 
purchasing, location, capital resources, overhead expense, 
etc." If the increase in labor cost were compensated, at 
least in part, by resulting or accompanying economies in 
operation, the result would be correspondingly better. 

As a matter of actual experience, it is known that some 
plants, or departments of plants, have changed from the 
twelve-hour to the eight-hour shift and reduced their labor 
costs." Others are operating on the eight-hour shift with 
satisfaction to their management and stockholders. ^° Others 
have changed and reduced their total manufacturing cost.** 
Finally, there are other plants which have had experience 
with the eight-hour shift, the exact economic result of which 
is not known, but as to which there seems to be reason to 
believe that the total manufacturing cost, is at most, not 
much greater with the eight-hour than with the twelve-hour 

"See especially page 254, and page 

"See page 258. 

* See pages 244, 275. 


See pages 244, 275. 
See pages 250, 260 ff. 
See pages 263, 271 ff. 









A inmiTinTn ^ experience of com- 
panies on three shifts, 68 

American Iron and Steel In- 
stitute, President E. H. Gary 
appoints conmiittee to investi- 
gate practicability of abolish- 
ing twelve-hour day, 52 

American Sugar Refining Com- 
pany, experience of, with three- 
shift operation, 133; schedule 
of Brooklyn plant, 137 

Automobile Industry, most plants 
operate two eight-hour shifts, 
162; Ford plant has combina- 
tion of two and three eight-hoUr 
shifts, 163 

Bakeries, Chicago plants on three- 
shift continuous operation, 161 

Basis of the study of the twelve- 
hour shift in industry, 3 

Beet Sugar, plants on twelve-hour 
shifts, 136; recent experiments 
with three shifts, 138 

Breakfast foods, plants mostly on 
three shifts, 159 

Brick and tile, twelve-hour 
schedule usual, 102; experience 
in West, 106; three shifts in 
Illinois, 107; question of tech- 
nical progress, 110 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 
analysis of hours in some in- 
dustries, 32 

Cabot Fund Eeport on technique 
of changing from two-shift to 
three-shift system in steel in- 
dustry, footnote, 45 

Care-taking, two-platoon system 
in police service, formerly com- 
mon, now abandoned for nine-, 
or ten-hour shifts, 197; the 
ten-squad system. Police Depart- 
ment, N. Y. City, 199; fire de- 
partments usually operate on 
two-platoon system, 198; watch' 
men usually on twelve-hour 
shifts, 200; in important plants 
— N. Y. Shipbuilding Co., Ford 
Motor Co., Washburn-Crosby 
Co., on eight hours, 200 

Cement (see also Glass and 
Cement), Report of Conserva- 
tion Committee of Portland 
Cement Association, 81; effi- 
ciency and the shift-system in 
cement plants, 81; comparative 
labor-efficiency, 82; combination 
of two shifts and three shifts in 
cement industry, 84; three-shift 
system in cement industry, 86; 
experience of plants which went 
to three shifts prior to the War, 
88; experience of plant which 
went ^o three shifts in 1921, 90 

Changing from two-shift to three- 
shift, conditions and prepara- 
tions for, 19 



^ ii 





r. \ 

/^ }i;tmir\tm\ j experience of com- 
panies on three shifts, 68 

American Iron and Steel In- 
stitute, President E. H. Gary 
appoints committee to investi- 
gate practicability of abolish- 
ing twelve-houj day, 52 

American Sugar Refining Com- 
pany, experience of, with three- 
shift operation, 133; schedule 
of Brooklyn plant, 137 

Automobile Industry, most plants 
operate two eight-hour shifts, 
162; Ford plant has combina- 
tion of two and three eight-hour 
shifts, 163 

Bakeries, Chicago plants on three- 
shift continuous operation, 161 

Basis of the study of the twelve- 
hour shift in industry, 3 

Beet Sugar, plants on twelve-hour 
shifts, 136; recent experiments 
with three shifts, 138 

Breakfast foods, plants mostly on 
three shifts, 159 

Brick and tile, twelve-hour 
schedule usual, 102; experience 
in West, 106; three shifts in 
Illinois, 107; question of tech- 
nical progress, 110 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 
analysis of hours in some in- 
dustries, 32 

Cabot Fund Report on technique 
of changing from two-shift to 
three-shift system in steel in- 
dustry, footnote, 45 

Care-taking, two-platoon system 
in police service, formerly com- 
mon, now abandoned for nine-, 
or ten-hour shifts, 197; the 
ten-squad system. Police Depart- 
ment, N. Y. City, 199; fire de- 
partments usually operate on 
two-platoon system, 198; watch' 
men usually on twelve-hour 
shifts, 200; in important plants 
— N. Y. Shipbuilding Co., Ford 
Motor Co., Washburn-Crosby 
Co., on eight hours, 200 

Cement (see also Glass and 
Cement), Report of Conserva- 
tion Committee of Portland 
Cement Association, 81; effi- 
ciency and the shift-system in 
cement plants, 81; comparative 
labor-efficiency, 82; combination 
of two shifts and three shifts in 
cement industry, 84; three-shift 
system in cement industry, 86; 
experience of plants which went 
to three shifts prior to the War, 
88; experience of plant which 
went ^o three shifts in 1921, 90 
Changing from two-shift to three- 
shift, conditions and prepara- 
tions for, 19 





Chemical IndastrieS; eontinuouB 
work in, 38; peculiarities and 
difficulties, 114 j heavy chemi- 
cals, 115; experience of a 
Tennessee company, 117 

Conclusion of the general survey 
of the two-shift and three-shift 
system, 11 

Continuous-Industries, the lead- 
ing, classified, 7; hours of labor 
in, 29; purposes of investiga- 
tion of, 34; the leading, classi- 
fied, 35; heat-process industries, 
36; chemical industries, 38; 
heavy-equipment industries, 38; 
service industries, 40; technical 
importance of, 40; amount of 
shift-work in, 41; method of 
securing data concerning, 42 

Continuous processes, in iron and 
steel industry, 220 

Continuous work, extent of in 
American industry, 209 

Cooke, Morris L., 4 

Copper, experience of companies 
working three shifts, 58; im- 
proved efficiency on eight-hour 
shifts, 60 

Cottonseed oil, crushing plants 
now on twelve-hour shifts, 145; 
refining plants on three shifts, 

Day-workers associated with shift- 
workers, hours for, 207 

Delivery men and chauffeurs, 
hours of, 203 

Drugs, plants on three shifts, 130 

Drury, Horace B., investigation of 
change from two-shift in steel 
industry, 4; lines of investiga- 
tion of, extent of two-shift work 
in continuous process industries, 
5; general survey, 26; report on 

a general survey of twelve-hour 
shift-work, 27 
Dyes, plants usually work on two 
shifts with power plants and 
maintenance men on eight-hour 
shifts, 122 

Eight-hour shift (see also three- 
shift system), instances of com- 
mercial success of, 286; neces- 
sary conditions, 287; advan- 
tages of, 290 

Electricity, power plants formerly 
on twelve-hour shifts, 169; 
present tendency for engineers 
and firemen to go on three 
shifts, 170; pay-roll costs and 
manning scales in power plants, 

Electro-Chemical Industries, plants 
at Niagara on three shifts, 130 

Engineers' Club of Phila., meet- 
ing on twelve-hour shift, 3 

Explosives, large plants on three 
shifts, 121 

Express service, at large terminals 
continuous on eight-hour shifts, 

Federated American Engineering 
Societies, Committee on Work 
Periods in Continuous-Industry, 

Fertilizers, 118; acid plants on 
twelve-hour shifts, 119; plant! 
could be put on three shifts 
with profit, 120 

Fire departments, usually operate 
on two-platoon system, 198 

Floating gang versus Sunday holi- 
day, 278; cost of, 279 

Flour, a three-shift industry, 151; 
three-shift operation profitable, 
153; comparative manning 



scales of two- and three-shift 
system, 154 

Ford Motor Company, economies 
in cost of pig iron under three- 
shift operation, 275-276 

Foreword by President W. G. 
Harding, vii 

Gas Plants, experience with three- 
shift system, 175; Phila., plant 
on ten-hour shifts, 176 

Glass and Cement, (See also 
Cement), eight-hour day com- 
mon, 70; no technical difficulties 
to three shifts, 72; flint glass, 
arrangement of hours for 
workers, 73; bottle blowers 
usually on three shifts, 76; win- 
dow glass manufacturer on 
three shifts, 76; plate glass in- 
dustry now on three shifts, 
78; effect of eight -hour shifts 
on men, 80 

Glue, plants on three shifts, 129 

Harding, President Warren G., 
Foreword, vii; White House 
Conference of steel executives. 
May 18, 1922, 52 
Heat-process industries, contin- 
uous work in, 36 
Heavy-equipment industries, con- 
tinuous work in, 38 
Hospital service, hours in, 202 
Hotel service, hours in, 201 
Hours of labor, public interests 
in, 27; in continuous-industries, 


Ice, ice cream, and refrigeration, 
until recently mostly on two- 
shift operation on twelve-hour 
basis, 179; most large city ice 
companies now on three shifts, 

179; comparative manning 
scales of Phila., ice plant, 181 

Industrial alcohol, plants on three 
shifts, 122 

International Labor Office, re- 
port of, on change to three- 
shift system in European coun- 
tries, 246 

Iron and Steel Industry, situation 
in, 15; percentage of men work- 
ing 12 hours, 16; labor costs 
and total costs, 20; old basis, a 
two-shift day, 45; tendencies 
toward shorter shifts, 47; con- 
ditions in 1921, 50; present 
situation and outlook, 51 ; eco- 
nomic operation a prerequisite, 
219; continuous operations in, 
220; questions involved in 
shorter shifts in, 223; working 
hours in 1920 in, 224; shorten- 
ing of hours, 1910 to 1920, in, 
225; workers employed 84 hours 
per week in 1910 and 1920, 226; 
workers on two shifts and on 
three shifts, 1910 and 1920, 
227; two shifts versus twelve 
hours actual work, 228; con- 
ditions precedent to change to 
three shifts in, 234; importance 
of adequate equipment in 
changing to three shifts, 235; 
cooperation of labor necessary 
for change to three shifts, 235; 
additional labor needed for 
change to three shifts, 236; 
summary of question of labor 
available for change to three 
shifts in, 240; results neces- 
sary for commercial success of 
three-shift system, 241; prob- 
ability of such results, 243; in- 
stances of lasting success with 
three shifts, 244; causes of 








I i 



failure of three-ihift sjitem, 
245; unfortunate results in 
Europe, 245; bright spots in 
Europe, 247; labor costs per 
ton of three-shift operation, 
249; labor costs in relation to 
total costs, 251; labor costs a 
small proportion of total cost, 
252; instances of lower labor 
costs, 255; the rod roller, 255; 
crane men, 257; pitmen and 
bottom men, 257; other cases, 
258; instances of labor costs 
higher but total costs lower, 
260; the converter blower, 261; 
possible economies in rolling 
mills, 263; instances of higher 
labor costs and higher total 
costs, 263; labor costs in other 
processes and departments, 265; 
peak and valley labor loads, 
266; labor saving devices, 268; 
economies and aids with peak 
loads at blast furnaces, 271; 
recent improvements at blast 
furnaces, 272; advantages of 
three shifts, 273; additional 
economies possible, 275; peak 
loads at open-hearth furnaces, 
276; Sunday operations, 279; 
sunmiary of evidence concern- 
ing twelve-hour day, 283 
Investigation of continuous-indus- 
tries, places visited, 43; report 
based on statement of officers of 
plants, 44 

Labor costs and total costs in iron 
and steel industry, 20; require- 
ments of three-shift operation 
and methods of meeting them, 
249; larger costs — how far off- 
set by savings and profits, 250; 
labor cost a small proportion of 

total cost in steel industry, 252; 
instances of lower labor costs 
under three-shift system, 255; 
instances of labor costs higher 
but total costs lower in steel in- 
dustry, 260; instances of both 
higher, 263; peak and valley 
loads in steel industry, 266; 
labor saving devices, 268; peak 
loads at blast furnaces, 271; 
recent improvements at blast 
furnaces, 272; additional econ- 
omies possible, 275; peak loads 
at open-hearth furnaces, 276; 
Sunday holiday, 278; Sunday 
operation, 279; week-end change 
of shift, 280; importance of 
care, expertness and loyalty of 
workers, 282; peak loads and 
intermittent laboring, 284; labor- 
saving devices and the eight- 
hour day, 285; labor costs, 292 

Lead, companies on both two- and 
three-shifts, 65 

Lime Industry, generally on two- 
shifts, 95; experience of one 
company with three-shifts, 95; 
methods and results, 96; other 
companies on three shifts, 101 

Manning scales in two-shift and 
three-shift operation in flour 
mills, 154 

Midvale Steel Company, compara- 
tive manning scales of two-, and 
three-shift systems in power 
plants of, 171 

Mining and Tunneling, twelve- 
hour shifts found in clay mines 
in Florida, 167; two eight-hour 
shifts common in metal mines, 
coal mines and in tunneling, 
167; three shifts for engineers, 
firemen, pumpmen on continuous 



work but also twelve-hour shifts 
found in coal mines, 167 

Nickel, gains in efficiency of com- 
panies on three shifts, 66 

Non-ferrous metals, plants in 
West long on three shifts, 56; 
East and South on two shifts 
before the War changed to three 
shifts, 57 

Paknerton, Pa., experience of 
N. J. Zinc Company, at, 64 

Paper and wood pulp industry, 
generally on three-shift basis, 
148; varying practice in dif- 
ferent localities, 149 

Peak and valley labor loads, 266; 
advantages of three shifts, 270; 
at blast furnaces, 271; econo- 
mies and aids at open-hearth 
furnaces, 276; peak loads and 
twelve-hour day, 283 

Petroleum, refineries now solidly 
on three shifts, 141 

Police Department, N. Y. City, 
ten-squad system, 199 

Postal service, mostly on eight- 
hour shifts, 194 

Pottery, terra cotta and special 
clay products, usually on twelve- 
hour shifts for continuous proc- 
esses, 111; labor less interested 
in three shifts, 112 

Procter & Gamble Company, modi- 
fied three-shift system in soap 
industry, 126; five-shift system 
and rotation of shifts, 128 

Public service electric plants, few 
employees work twelve hours, 
172; experience of electric 
plants with three-shift system, 

Befined com products, a leading 

company operates on three-shift 

system, 124 
Bestaurant workers, hours of, 203 
Retail stores, hours of workers, 

Bubber, no twelve-hour shift-work 

in industry, 156; operation of 

three-shift system, 157 

Saw miUs, some operating three 
eight-hour shifts, 162 

Service industries, continuous work 
in, 40 

Seven-day week, 207 

Shift-work, amount of in continu- 
ous-industries, 41 

Shipbuilding, watchmen on three 
shifts, 163 

Slaughtering, power plants and 
watchmen in meat packing in- 
dustry generally on twelve-hour 
shifts, 165; Alschuler Arbitra- 
tion decision in 1921 established 
eight-hour day, 165 

Soap, sentiment against continu- 
ous operation of plants, 124; 
twelve-hour shifts when neces- 
sary, 125; experience of Procter 
& Camble on a modified three- 
shift system, 126 

Stables and garages, hours in, 202 

Steel industry (see Iron and Steel 

Stoughton, Bradley, assignment of 
investigation of technical as- 
pects in steel industry, 5; report 
on iron and steel industry, 218 

Sugar, cane sugar mills in 
Louisiana on twelve-hour shifts, 
132; American Sugar Befining 
Co., and a few small plants on 
three shifts, 133; beet sugar 
plants on twelve-hour shifts, 136 

i; J 



v" ( 

\ ' 


Sunday holiday, 278-279 


Table salt, plants formerly on two 
■hifts now permanently on three 
■hifts, 141 

Taylor Society, inquiry of Inter- 
national Labor Office concerning 
two-shift work in other coun- 
tries, 4; bulletin, paper on 
three-shift system in steel in* 
dustry, 34, footnote 

Telegraph companies. Western 
Union land lines and cable ser- 
vice operated on eight-hour 
■hifts, 191 

Telephone companies, few workers 
in any departments on more 
than eight-hour shifts, 192 

Textiles, commonly only day-time 
operation, when night work is 
necessary, two shifts of twelve 
hours or less depending on state 
laws regulating work of women, 

Three-shift operation, factors to 
be considered in changing from 
two-shift to, 12 

Three-shift system, gains from, 21 ; 
conclusions concerning, from 
both reports of Drury and of 
Stoughton, 22; cost of opera- 
tion, 53; few companies after 
three-shift operation go back to 
two-shifts, 55; in cement in- 
dustry, 86; comparative labor 
efficiency in cement industry, 
82; modified, rotating shifts 
and five-shift work, 128; paper 
and wood pulp industry gen- 
erally on, 148; advantages of, 
in paper industry, 150; profit- 
able in flour industry, 153; 
operation of, in rubber industry, 

157; profitable in cereal fooda 
industry, 160; costs of and 
manning scales in power plants, 
170; experience of electric 
plants, 173; water works plants, 
178; in city ice plants, 179; in 
ocean and water transportation, 
185; important railroad stations 
operate on, 189; in telegraph 
and cable service, 191; in postal 
service, 194; in express service, 
195; procedure in change from 
two shifts to three, 205; impor- 
tant conditions of change to, 
206; hours for day-workers 
associated with shift-workers, 
207; rotation of shifts, 208; 
technical difficulties in changing 
to, 210; factors to be considered 
in changing to, 211 ; how change 
to affects number of shift- 
workers, 211; effect on produc- 
tion, 212; wages rates com- 
pared with two-shift operation, 
214; managerial opinion on 
comparison with two-shift ope- 
ration, 215; employees use of 
leisure time under, 216; re- 
version to two shifts negligible, 
216; versus the eight-hour day, 
230; questions involved in steel 
industry in proposal for shorter 
shifts, 231; the real issue is a 
question of wages, 233; condi- 
tions precedent to change to in 
steel industry, 234; adequate 
equipment, cooperation of labor, 
and additional labor needed for 
in steel industry, 235; dubious 
inferences concerning attitude 
of labor towards, 238; failure 
of thorough lack of cooperation, 
239; summary of question of 
labor available for in steel in- 




dustry, 240; results necessary 
for commercial success of in 
steel industry, 241; probability 
of favorable results in steel in- 
dustry, 243; instances of lasting 
success, 244; causes of failure, 
245; unfortunate results in 
Europe, 245; bright spots in 
Europe, 247; labor costs of, 
per ton, 249; methods of meet- 
ing labor requirements of, 249; 
larger costs offset, 250; labor 
costs in relation to total costs 
of iron and steel products, 251 ; 
instances of lower labor costs 
under, 255; advantages of in 
dealing with peak loads, 270; 
advantages of at blast fur- 
naces, 273; adaptability of to 
modem open-hearth furnace 
plants, 276; week-end change of 
shift, 280; labor-saving devices 
and the eight-hour day, 285; 
commercial success of, 286; 
necessary conditions in chang- 
ing to, 287; groundless fears of 
eight-hour shift, 288; disadvan- 
tages of twelve-hour shift, 289; 
advantages of eight-hour shift, 
290; labor costs of, 292 

Three-shift work, extent of in 
various industries, 8; con- 
clusions concerning, 11 

Transportation, hours of licensed 
deck and engine officers on 
ocean, lake, and river vessels, 
182; deck crews or sailors on 
three-watch system, 183; mixed 
system of three watches and 
day-work result of marine strike 
in 1919, 185; two-watch system 
for sailors the rule on Great 
Lakes, 185; hours of workers on 
steam railroads, 187; Adamson 

Act makes nominal hours eight, 
188; important rai]xor.d stations 
operate on three eight-hour 
shifts, 189; switchmen since 
1917 on eight-hour shifts, 189; 
crossing guards and roundhouse 
men on eight-hour shifts, 190; 
railway shops operate on eight- 
hour shifts, 190; street rail- 
ways, workers average nine 
hours, 191 
Twelve-hour shift, general con- 
clusions concerning, adopted by 
Engineers' Committee, 5; ex- 
tent of in various industries, 8; 
conclusions concerning, 11; lack 
of information about, 31; 
Federal Bureau of Labor 
Statistics, study of, 32; alterna- 
tives to, 209; technical difficul- 
ties in changing from, 210; 
factors to be considered in 
changing from, 211; how 
change from affects number of 
shift-workers, 211; how change 
from affects production, 212; 
wage rates compared with three- 
shift operation, 214; mana- 
gerial opinion concerning com- 
parison of with three-shift ope- 
ration, 215; revision to, negli- 
gible, 216; in iron and steel in- 
dustry, 221 ; influences deferring 
shorter shifts in iron and steel 
industry, 223; two-shift system 
versus the twelve-hour day, 224; 
two-shift plan versus twelve 
hours' actual work in iron and 
steel industry, 228; two shifts 
with idle periods, 229; differ- 
ences between two-shift system 
and twelve-hour day sum- 
marized, 230; disadvantages of, 








( A 



Two-shift ijstem, univeraallj 
established in cane sugar indus- 
try, 133; majoritj of sugar re- 
fining companies on two-shift 
system, 133 

17. 8. Steel Corporation, number 
of twelve-hour employees in 
1919, 46; position of on twelve- 
hour day, 48; conditions in 
1921, 50; Judge Oary's an- 
nouncement in April 1922, 51 

Washburn-Crosby Flour Mills, 
three-shift operation in, 152 

Water-works plants, mostly on 
eight-hour shifts, 178 

Wolf, Bobert B., report on chang- 
ing from two shifts to three in 
paper industry, 149 

Wood distillation, many employees 
on twelve-hour work, 123 

Working conditions, importance of 
in industry, 27 

Working hours in 1920 in steel 
industry, 224 

Zinc, experience of Palmerton 
Works of N. J. Zinc Compuiy, 


r I 

I / 


1 1 







Federated engineering soc 


tC 6 

sh^f t, in industry* , 

7 i9» 






4 '